The Hitting Zone - Chapter 182

Published at 19th of March 2019 01:28:13 PM
Chapter 182

Garret left to go sit beside Jordan and probably to speak about his pitching . I felt bad not saying anything encouraging like Noah did, but Garret didn't look bothered . He was strictly focused on his pitching and how the first inning went down .

The top of the second inning brought up Sean, Julian, and Chris so I felt that there was a pretty good chance of me coming up to bat . I set my glove down and changed my hat out for my helmet .

Noah wiggled his eyebrows . "Think I should get ready too?"

I shrugged . "Nothing is guaranteed . We could possibly make it to you again . "

Noah dragged me into a loose headlock . "Aw! I'm so proud! Look how positive you're becoming!"

"We could also go three up, three down . " I mumbled .

He shoved me away . "Don't put that out there in the universe! Take it back!"

"I take it back . . . ?"

Noah sighed with relief . "Thank goodness . Never say that kind of stuff . The universe is always listening . "

"Sometimes I wonder if we're ever on the same page . " I mumbled, shaking my head .

"Of course we are . " Noah replied promptly . "We're two peas in a pod . You're jelly to my peanut butter . Just like Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle . "

"What?" I shook my head in confusion .

"I'll tell ya later . " He pointed at the field . "Sean just struck out . You're in the hole . "

I grabbed my bat and moved to the entrance of the dugout to watch Julian's at bat . Sadly, it didn't amount to much; he flew out to center field, getting close to the warning track . I moved to the on deck circle and Chris moved to the batter's box . I, lazily, swung my bat as a lefty; doing it more for the stretch and not to time the pitches like normal players . Chris followed in Julian's footsteps, by hitting another high fly to center and making the third and final out of the inning .

I sighed and dragged my bat back to my bag in the dugout .

Noah was waiting there . He quickly slapped my shoulder . "You must've not taken it back!"

"I did!" I pouted, rubbing my shoulder . "You heard me take it back . "

"Obviously you weren't very sincere . " Noah lectured . "Now let's get back on the field and return the favor . "

I nodded and switched out my equipment, then followed him out . Garret took the mound, looking more secure in his pitching . In the bottom of the second, he got the first guy to pop up to me . I felt relaxed as I made to grab and the out . What a good feeling . Garret made the next guy hit a little dribbler to himself . He barehanded it and threw a bullet to Julian . Julian tagged first base and that was out number two . Garret faces off with the next guy with nothing but fastballs and ended up striking him out swinging . Three up, three down .

"What did I tell you?" Noah beamed at me . "I said we would return the favor and we did . The universe is always listening . "

"But . . . we didn't really do much . It was all Garret and his pitching . " I replied as we got in the dugout . I started to switch out my hat for a helmet again . I would be first up this inning .

Noah shrugged . "Okay, So Garret saying he would put in more effort was also put in the universe and the universe answered . Same thing . "

I laughed at the way Noah always has to be right and grabbed my bat before heading out . I made my way to the lefty's box, stopping a few feet away to let the pitcher throw some warmup and so I could take a practice swing or two .

The pitcher threw some low pitches, looking to be on the border of the strike zone . Hmm . Low . But doable . I could hit a grounder between the infielders or something . I took a look at their positioning . The first baseman was closer to the baseline than before, with the second baseman also cheating a little that way . The shortstop was only an extra three steps towards second base, but he created a nice gap between himself and the third baseman .

That's where I'm going to aim . The umpire called for me to step in the box and I did so . I steadied my back leg towards the back of the box, and had my right leg ready to take that step forward .

"You have a nice hitting streak going on, kid . " A voice from behind caught me by surprise and I looked back to see if I was hearing things .

A 'plop' sounded in the glove .

"Strike one . " The ump called out .

I blinked . What . Just . Happened . I squinted at the catcher as he stood up and threw the ball back to his pitcher . He looked down at me and winked . "Hard to imagine you having a perfect batting average when you can't even keep your eye on the ball . " His voice was definitely the one from before .

I looked at the umpire, but he didn't say anything . Was this allowed? Can the catcher distract a batter in the middle of the at-bat? The catcher squatted back into position and I took my stance once again . The pitcher started his motion .

"Maybe the Atkins did pay your way onto the team . Just like they did for your friend . " The voice stated, getting my attention again .

I turned to frown at him, and missed another called strike . I glanced at the umpire for help, but he just shrugged . I took a step back and turned around to face the dugout, looking for help . I found Noah's face right inside the dugout, waiting in the hole . He caught me staring right at him, and pointed at himself . I nodded .

Noah jogged out and called time . I met him closer to the dugout so I could get away from the catcher and the weird atmosphere he had created . Noah leaned in and covered his mouth, "What's wrong? Why aren't you focusing? You keep looking back at the catcher and umpire . "

I leaned in to whisper . "The catcher keeps talking to me . It's distracting . "

Noah's eyes widened . "Is he saying anything offensive?"

I shrugged . "Not really . Just making me uncomfortable . Is he allowed to talk?"

Noah nodded . "He is . It's all a part of the game . He's just trying to get in your head to mess you up . "

"Boys . " The umpire came over . "Thirty seconds is up . "

Noah straightened up . "Yes, sir . Just explaining to my friend that the catch is allowed to chat during the at bat . "

The umpire nodded . "As long as it's not offensive or derogatory . Now back in the box . "

I swallowed hard . Noah gave me a pat and then went back to the dugout . I fixed my grip on the bat before getting back into the batter's box .

"Had to consult with your little friend? That's cute . Thinking you can do something even though you clearly can't . " The catcher made his remark, but I kept my eyes on the pitcher .

Both of his pitches came in low . He'll probably try and come in high or outside . Maybe both . I watched as he went through his wind up and the ball left his fingertips . The ball would be high, but definitely close to the strike zone . I should just swing and get away from this annoying catcher . I took a step forward, my wrists carried my bat to meet the ball . Then the ball started to rise just as my swing crossed the plate . I adjusted as best as I could, connecting with the ball and sending it towards the direction I was aiming for: between third and short .

Unluckily, it wasn't a grounder . I hit just under the ball to send a fly ball to left field . I ran to first, praying the left fielder wouldn't make it in time . He didn't let his team down, sliding forward to catch that pop . Out . First out of the third inning . The first out of my high school career . The first out of my life .

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