The Winning Ball
When the battery recognized his parents and his little sister, the pitcher’s right arm felt much easier. Although it was the eighth inning, his right shoulder could mark 95miles/h.
Jamie and Welter were the batteries.
No hit, no run, so far.
The night before, they made a discussion. About when they ask for the relief ace.
Usually, the ninth inning was the relief ace’s.
“Why don’t we try ourselves tomorrow? A great work cannot be done without an attempt.”
“You mean the perfect game, don’t you?”
“Yes I do.”
“Then, we should tell everybody in our team that we’re trying.”
“Ah… Please don’t.”
“I don’t want to make them nervous,” said Jamie, “and it is not the eighth inning.”
They were making a miracle and it was the eighth inning.
Welter looked at the flags over the scoreboard and knew the wind had changed.
A strong against wind.
Straight balls run. Even if somebody should try to hit a homerun, the spin of the ball makes the arch shorter. When a batter hits, the top spin cannot go so far because of the against wind.
So, Welter demanded fast balls, especially when the batter’s bat moved back and forth.
Jamie breathed with his shoulders.
Welter ran toward the mound.
“Are you okay, Jamie?”
“A little bit tired.”
“I understand. But it’s almost over. The next batter is the 6th. Four batters left.”
Welter wanted to strike him out within four balls.
He placed his mitt a little farther of the batter, out low.
One ball or one and a half outside the base.
Jamie threw the first ball.
The batter was waiting for a slow curve or a changeup, and the bat went a little late.
Welter knew that the batter wanted to hit, as he counted 1-2-3.
He hit a foul ball. The ball drew a line to the first bench.
Everybody cheered, but the sound of the audience didn’t reach Jamie’s ears.
He was concentrated to the catcher’s mitt.
His leg folded.
Another fast ball. The waist level, in-corner.
The batter’s timing was good, but if he hits the ball, it goes outside the field, to the left.
No balls, two strikes.
Welter wanted a slow changeup, as soon as the batter came back to the box.
‘Swing your arms, as fast as you can! Jamie said to himself.’
And all of a sudden, the wind stopped.
It was a changeup.
The batter’s bat went too early.
He could nothing but swing.
The audience cheered. His parents and his sister stood up with joy.
Welter gathered his teammates.
“We need your help. We want as long time as possible to save him from fatigue. Do not try to hit the first ball, OK?”
“OK. I’ll change my uniform. Tell them, A Hole in my trousers. I have to hide my trunks.”
“We appreciate it. Thank you.”
“George has a worm in his pants.”
“A big hole is spreading in his uniform.”
“Oh, I see.”
In two or three minutes, George appeared, making a bow.
After waiting five balls, he made a two-base hit.
The opponent’s pitcher was tired, too.
The score was 2-0.
The next batter chose four balls.
And the next, was Welter.
He didn’t intend to swing. Let him throw.
“A great work cannot be achieved without the teammates, you know.”
Somebody tapped Jamie’s head.
“We’ve got quite a nice catcher and good fielders. Trust us.”
Jamie nodded with a smile.
The bottom of the eighth ended with two runners.
The final inning has come.
“Welter, I have something to talk with you.” said Jamie. Let’s not strike them out. I’ll trust my teammates and believe my luck.”
The wind was blowing from the right to the left.
“Give me a grounder, my boy.” he said.
“I need a low slider.”
Welter demanded a low slider outside the homebase, after showing the fast straight inside the batter’s reach.
The 7th batter hit the grounder. The third baseman threw carefully to the first baseman.
The next hit a pop. Jamie caught it.
The last batter. A new slugger was called to the field.
“We don’t have a data of his.”
Everybody in the stadium knew a miracle was coming.
“A fast ball again!”
The roar sound surrounded the stadium.
The batter did not swing.
Welter placed the mitt upside down.
“A Folk ball!”
The batter’s bat spin in the air.
The batter demanded time.
Jamie dried his face, using his uniform.
“The last ball? Or the next?”
Jamie’s leg kicked the mound.
He folded his leg.
Welter was almost standing. The mitt was over the shoulders of the batter.
The bat didn’t meet the ball.
His bat caught nothing and he spinned down.
After the total silence, everybody in the stadium was cheering.
“A great job, Jamie!!”
He won the achievement, and Welter was crying with joy.
“This is yours!” He handed the winning ball.
“Thank you. Thank you, Welter.”
He kissed the ball.
A miracle happens, but no miracles can be made without an attempt.
All the teammates gathered to the mound.
Jamie was lifted high up in the air.
It was the first time he cried with joy through his baseball life.
“Thank you. Oh, thank you…”
Written by Masato Iwakiri Copyright(C)2009-2021 Atlantis英語総合学院 All Rights Reserved.