The ball struck the bat and flew high above the infield. I gasped.
“Oh my gosh, it’s heading for Mitzi. Mitzi will never catch it. I don’t think she has ever caught a fly ball in her life. I wish Coach Jim wouldn’t have put her into the game. I know it’s the rule that all girls play, but I want to win. Mitzi just wants to have fun playing softball. I wish she wouldn’t have joined our team.
She played with the West-Side Girls last year. They have a team again this year; why did she want to play with us. If I were her, I would have played with my old team. Okay, so her family moved a couple of blocks and now she lives in our district, but I still think she should be playing for the West-Side Girls. Besides, the West-Side Girls softball team is more like she is. They’re not any good. I think they only won a couple of games last year. We beat them twice. I remember Mitzi in the first game we played last year. She struck out. Nobody strikes out in slow-pitch softball. Well, almost no one. I did once, but that was when I first started to play. I was what they call a rookie. That was two years ago when I played on the ten-year old team. Since then I’ve never struck out.
My Dad says that our team is the best. So far we’ve won nine games. If we win this one, it’ll be our tenth win and the season will be finished. We’ll have won all of our games and we’ll be the champions.
“Oh, gosh, look at Coach Jim. He’s standing up and watching the flight of the ball too and I bet he’s thinking the same thing that I am. If Mitzi doesn’t catch that ball, we’re gonna lose. We’ve only got a one run lead and they have girls on second and third. If Mitzi doesn’t catch it, both of those girls will score and the game will be over. I’ve got a sick feeling in my stomach. I can’t look, but I have to. Look at her. She has her glove down by her side and she’s moving around. First she comes in closer and then she backs up and then moves to her right and then left. She doesn’t know what she’s doing. She’s never gonna catch that ball and we’re gonna lose. I feel terrible. But, what if she did catch it? If she does, we win. There are two outs and that will make the third. “Come on, Mitzi. Catch it. Keep your eye on the ball and catch it.
Look at Lisa in left field and Kayla in right field. They’re watching the ball too and they have a helpless look on their faces. I know both of them wish they could catch it, but neither could run that far in time. It’s going right to Mitzi.
Now the ball is starting to come down. Mitzi isn’t moving anymore and she isn’t back far enough. It’s going over her head. “Mitzi, back up, back up Mitzi. I don’t think Mitzi hears me. I can hear our coach yelling from the bench. Back up Mitzi, Back up.
Now the ball is almost to Mitzi and she took a step backward and, oh my gosh, she almost fell. You’re okay Mitzi. Keep looking at the ball. She has her glove up in the air over her head, but her other hand is down at her side. Use two hands, Mitzi. Catch the ball using two hands. I don’t think she heard me. Now she’s crouching a little with both knees bent and her feet spread apart. The ball is almost to her. I can’t look, but I’ve got to. Oh, God, help us, help Mitzi. I’ll never get angry with my parents again and I’ll even be nice to my brother. I want to win this game so bad. Please let Mitzi catch the ball.
It’s there. The ball has slammed into her glove and it jerked the webbing top of her glove backwards and Mitzi’s arm is back over her shoulder. I’m closing my eyes. I can’t look anymore.
What’s that? I hear a yell and then another one. I don’t want to look. It must be the girls on the other team yelling because they won the game. But, that sounds like Mitzi yelling. I’m going to peek. Mitzi is jumping up and down with her glove held high above her head and sticking out of the top of her glove, like an ice cream in a cone, is the softball. Mitzi caught the ball. We’re the champions.
“Mitzi, Mitzi. That was a great catch. I’m so glad you’re playing on our team.