My Little League Memory

Technically speaking, I wasn't so "little" when this Little League memory took place. I was in 8th grade at the time, but where I grew up we didn't start using a regulation size field until high school. We were still playing on softball fields, but with Little League rules.

This particular game we were scheduled to play a much smaller town who was coming from a half hour away. Game time came, and they were several guys short of a full team. So they immediately had to forfeit, but their coach, having had his guys drive 30 minutes, wondered if we were still interested in playing anyway. We agreed, and the coach asked if he could borrow some of our guys to fill out his squad. I wasn't scheduled to pitch that day, but my arm felt good, and I was probably going to be sitting a lot; I was a starter normally and since this game was one for free, a lot of the bench guys were going to get the majority of playing time. So I volunteered to go play for the shorthanded club along with two others.

As we were getting ready to take the field, the coach asked me what I played. I'm left-handed so it was the obvious answers: first base and pitcher. He immediately offered me the mound (resting his own guys).

I had the most dominant game of my life. Facing my own team, who KNEW what I threw, and the order in which I tended to throw it (fastball-curve-knuckleball on 0-2), I struck out every person on my own team at least once, only gave up 1 hit (which turned into an unearned run thanks to a fielding error), and pitched six strong innings. I could have pitched all 7, but the coach decided to put in his own kid for the final inning.

On the offensive side, in my first at-bat I ripped a solid triple. After sliding into third, I dusted myself off, and my own coach, a giant of a man, was suddenly standing over me glowering. Scared the crap out of me, until he smiled and laughed and congratulated me on the hit. My next time up I hit the only legit over-the-fence-homer I ever hit in baseball- an opposite field blast to left.

I don't recall the final score, but almost entirely due to my pitching performance, the team that had to forfeit due to lack of players actually won the game on the scoreboard. My teammates were more than unhappy with me in the good-game-handshake line afterwards, but all was of course forgiven by the next game.

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