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December 18 2002 : Perfect(ly) Average

An indoor softball season is six games. At maximum that would be twenty four at bats. Unfortunately, I had to miss one game because of a business trip. And in most games (which are played in under an hour) a person would get only three at bats. Then there was the game where I locked myself out of the house and missed my first turn up. Are you ready to hear my batting average after my sixteen plate appearances of the “regular season?”

It’s a perfect zero, zero, zero. That’s right, .000. Here’s a recap of my season at the plate for the Killer Kanaries.

My first game is documented in detail in a previous entry, but the result was two strikeouts and then, when I really concentrated on w-a-a-a-i-i-i-i-t-i-n-g for the ball, I finally made contact, and hit into a force at second. Subsequent action moved me all the way to third before the third out was made.

My second game I was determined not to strike out so much. Before the game ‘Dip tossed me batting practice in the cage and I only swung and missed once. Harry and Tom were in the next cage over and Harry said, “hey, I didn’t hear you miss any.” That day I had brought my Little League bat–it’s 29 inches, 22 ounces! And that seemed to improve my comfort level. Until my first at bat, that is. Whiff. Dang it, I thought, what’s different now? Is it me? Am I too excited?

I decided to stand farther up in the batter’s box and in my next time up, I had runners on. If only I had had the good sense to strike out this time–I hit the ball hard right into a double play. In my final at bat I hit the ball hard again, and was beaten at first base by the throw. Actually, I thought I was safe, but I wasn’t going to argue–it was close anyway. And I was just happy I had made contact both times. And we won the game, our first win, to make the team 1-1-1, since we had a tie the week before. I’m feeling good, and like I can start contributing pretty soon. In fact, I made my first and only put out of the season–a catch of a line drive in “center field.” Ball came right at me, I put the glove up, and didn’t drop it. Small victories.

Game Three, though, I think I struck out my first at bat. That or it was three ground outs. It’s all a blur now. I think it was a strike out and two ground outs, or I hit the ball hard all three times. It occurs to me I have no idea where I’m hitting it–I make contact and then I put my head down and sprint to first, so I have no idea which fielder is snagging them.

Game Four, Tom puts me in the leadoff spot. Okay, patience, I tell myself. Patience. I walk on five pitches! I am on base! I get erased immediately on a force out, but hey, maybe I am getting the hang of it. I ground out twice more in the game, hitting the ball hard both times. I notice when Rebecca hits the ball, she barely taps it, and she got two hits and three RBI that game. Hmmm.

Game Five, our last. We haven’t won a game since the one, so we have slipped out of playoff contention. But a win (or a tie) tonight, and a loss by another team, and we could be right back in it! We are down 7-1 at one point, but get back to 7-2 by the eighth, when we set them down 1-2-3 with only two minutes left on the clock. That means we get to start another inning, and we are at bat. We need five to tie it. The pressure of the game, or maybe the weird flip wrist delivery of the pitcher, has gotten to me, and I have already struck out three times in a row. Dang it all, I thought I was getting the hang of it, but now my confidence is shot. After all those times I connected with the ball, now it is hanging there, looking perfectly hittable… and then I swing, and miss. I have no idea whether I am swinging too early, too late, or what. Argh, I suffer. If I could have grounded out one of those times, I had the bases loaded and one out, I could have brought a run in, and we would have only needed four to tie it. But I didn’t and we need five.

I walk on six pitches. I am on base! And my teammates are rallying… I go station to station on some singles/errors (we don’t really count errors in this league because the fielding is so weird on the clay and off the wall…) and end up scoring a run! Now I feel like I contributed! But the rally falls short. We score four but leave them loaded, and lose 7-6.

So I’m hitless. We get to play a “consolation” playoff round, and then the second indoor season starts. Am I signing up? You bet! The hits have to start coming sometime… if I just keep trying.

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