Dust Bowl

We’re coming into the dog days of summer. You can feel it on the softball field. Sweat gets in your eyes, and the dust sticks to you in a gritty film.

On Tuesday we played our make-up games against Team Celebrities and Team Numbers at Brocton Oval—otherwise known as the “Dust Bowl”.

I was the first person at the field in spite of one of my famous short cuts. The evening was hotter then hell, and the sun was shining directly on home plate. Dust was coming off the diamond like an old town in a Western movie.

Back catching the first  game was miserable. I could see the ball leave the pitcher’s hand, and then it would disappear for a couple of seconds in the sun, and bounce in front of me or beside me, just never in my glove.

I had a feeling the first game against Team Celebrities wasn’t going to go well when one of our players conjured  the Germany/Brazil World Cup soccer game from that afternoon (Germany won 7-1). Celebrities is a strong team; they’ve only lost a few games, whereas we’re near the bottom in the standings. I had secretly hoped we would pull off a David and Golliath and beat them, but then our player started shouting, “We’re Germany and you’re Brazil!”

I wouldn’t describe myself superstitious, but I do believe in jinxes. I never get cocky when we have a lead, and I certainly would never make derogatory remarks about another team—out loud.

Sure enough, we got trounced. Celebrities kept hitting home runs even with the sun in their eyes. The score was something like 11-3.

My hitting is still consistent and improving. I’m getting to first every time at bat, or I’m getting out at first—the important thing is I’m not striking out. I couldn’t be too selective about the pitches I swung at because the umpire was calling a lot of strikes on both teams. I think he was in a hurry to get home because he kept asking the score keeper for the time.

Our second game against Team Numbers didn’t start off very well either. By the third inning we were down 11-3, as if the score keeper had forgot to change the score from the last game.

Some how we were able to overcome our exhaustion for a an inning or two and hold them until we got a few runs in. I had a great hit game that would have been a triple if an outfielder hadn’t caught it, but at least I batted a runner in.

Team Numbers has some really solid hitters on their team. I heard their second batter in the lineup mutter, “Centre field” and sure as shit, he hit it to an empty spot there. I would kill for that kind of control.

Coach was alternating me out every other inning for the game against Numbers. The first game really wiped me out. I felt my catching and throwing were way off. I was dying from the heat and my face felt like it was on fire.

Near the end of the game I was in the dugout and Coach said, “I just want to let you know, you’re throwing has really improved this season. Anyone would be an idiot to put you as back catcher next season.”

This took me by surprise. I’ve noticed improvements in my throwing but I would say I still have a long way to go.

Back catching has really grown on me. There was one play during the second inning where the ball was over-thrown home and I grabbed it, ran out into the diamond, and stopped the runners from advancing the bases. It was awesome!

Although I did blow an easy out after the batter fouled and popped the ball up behind him. The pitcher and I ran for the ball at the same time. I was closest to the ball but I didn’t call it, and hesitated for fear of crashing into into the pitcher. That split second of hesitation cost me the out.

Bomber won the game for us in the last inning when she hit a home run that got her wife, Cricket home. Sisters are doing it for themselves!

It was a surprise win that we all really needed going into the playoffs. I’m still hoping to hit a good double or triple before the end to top off the season. I would love to hit my first home run but I’m not expecting any miracles.

My cap ooked and felt like I had been rolling around on the beach with it by the time we were finished playing. That cap has seen a lot of sun. And it’s filthy as hell. I really need to find someone with a dishwasher who can wash it for me.

We play our final two games of the regular season tomorrow. Next week are the playoffs—two whole days of ball in the sun.

I know our team is low in the standings, but I’m crossing my fingers we can place in the top three in the finals. Our win/loss record might not be the greatest, but I still think we’re the little team that could—or can—whatever.

My dusty cap.

My dusty cap.

About garpinbc

Author of the forthcoming "Same Love" published by Lorimer, as well as the memoir "Foodsluts at Doll & Penny's Cafe", and the YA short, "Haters Gotta Hate".
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