The Hitting Zone - BestLightNovel.com
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Chapter 986 V3 Ch220 @ Servite HS (1)
We warmed up in high spirits even if the stadium started to fill up and doing home team chants and cheers. Like Noah said, tune it out, so I put all my focus on warming up; taking every grounder and fly ball seriously.
Coach didn't officially tell us the batting order until we got back in the dugout, though he had already implied that we would have the same starters at Thursday. Just moved around a little.
1 RF Bryce Finn
2 SS Noah Atkins
3 CF Garret Knudsen
4 2B Jake Atkins
5 1B Sean Isner
6 3B Jason Morris
7 LF Korrey Alvarrez
8 C Mitch.e.l.l Torres
9 P Kyle Atkins
"Jake as cleanup!" Noah slapped me on the back. "It's about time."
"It doesn't mean much. Just symbolic." Kyle said. "We all know that he's the cleanup no matter where he is in the lineup." Him and Mitch.e.l.l had came back to the dugout and the other pitchers were getting ready to head to the bullpen.
The top of order got ready as Coach gave a small speech. "It's a new day, boys. Against a new team at a new venue. Away games can be tough for a mult.i.tude of reasons but the fans have to be number one. We're lucky today is a weekend and we won't be alone. Keep your heads up and good luck out there."
Bryce and Noah left the dugout first to take practice swings. Garret and I also were ready, standing in the hole near Coach. Most of the team was watching the pitcher warmup off the mound. He was tall, well-built, and he threw fast.
"I don't think I remember him from last year." I mumbled to Garret.
Garret shrugged. "Lots of reasons for that. Sanchez was their number one. Sometimes the schedule doesn't match up. Maybe he came up from JV."
I glanced at him out of the corner of my eye. "You think this guy came up from JV?" The sound of the ball hitting into the catcher's glove was deafening. "His warmup pitches are at least 85mph."
Garret shrugged. "I was just giving out reasons we haven't seen him yet. Another option: he could be an undercla.s.smen." He looked to Alisha. "Hey, Alisha. Can you try to look up this guy and see what his numbers were last year?"
Alisha nodded, pulling out her phone. She started to type away, going to Servite's roster last year, trying to find the guy by his jersey number. She shook her head. "I'm not seeing his number."
Garret looked to Coach.
Coach held up his finger. "Hold on. The announcement should be coming soon."
"Pitching for Servite, Soph.o.m.ore, Cody Peace." The crowd clapped and cheered for the home team as the positions were announced over the loudspeaker. Soon after, Bryce was announced.
"Check the lower level rosters." Garret looked to Alisha again.
"On it!" She never lifted her head.
I kept my eyes on the pitcher. Cody. He was big for a soph.o.m.ore. Bryce and Brian were soph.o.m.ore pitchers on varsity last year so it's not too much of a surprise. But he was on par with Bryce now after Bryce spent a summer working on his physique.
Cody started off as fast as expected, getting a called strike against Bryce on the first pitch. Bryce was able to foul back the second pitch. On an 0-2 count, the pitcher threw something different, catching Bryce by surprised. He swung to early, missing the curve. Strikeout. On three pitches.
Bryce came back to the dugout as the crowd cheered for Cody. He looked embarra.s.sed. "I didn't expect the breaking ball. Looked like a curve."
Garret gave him a pat on the shoulder as he left the dugout. "Don't mind. Still early. We'll work on the guy and figure him out in no time." He left for the on deck circle.
Noah must have had the idea to attack the fastball before seeing a curve. He swung on the first pitch, a fastball inside. His bat made a weird sound as he got jammed, using the thin part near his hands. The ball rolled forward, straight to the pitcher. Cody only had to take two steps to pick the ball up and throw to his first baseman, beating out Noah for the second out.
Noah jogged back, picking up his bat. I came out of the dugout to stand in the on deck circle and he paused for a moment. "This guy is supposed to be a soph.o.m.ore like us? He's looking like the twins."
I nodded in agreement.
"You should have an easy time if he doesn't throw you nothing but curves." Noah went back in the dugout.
Hmm. I watched Garret's at bat closely. I should choose the left side too. Better to have a curve to come at me than to tail away. Garret fouled off a few fastb.a.l.l.s, holding an 0-2 count. This guy on the mound really didn't like to throw b.a.l.l.s. But...he also wasn't throwing Garret his curve. On the sixth pitch, Garret was able to poke the ball through the infield for a single.
I slowly walked up to the batter's box, going with the left side for sure now. Garret never saw the curve, maybe I won't either.
"You've got this!"
"Drive him home!"
I put a foot in the batter's box, checking with Mr. Miller down the third baseline. He gave the sign to hit freely. Nothing special was added. I got set in the box and eyed the pitcher as he did his motion.
I watched closely, only to see something unexpected. A curve ball on the first pitch. It fell in for a called strike. I tried to keep my face expressionless but in reality, I wanted to complain. Sure enough, I would see more breaking b.a.l.l.s in the future. I can't wait for the day I'm strong enough to blast it over the fence. For now...it was too slow. The physics just won't work in my favor.
Needless to say, the next pitch was another curve. I let it pa.s.s for another called strike. I stepped out of the box as the catcher threw the ball back. I looked at Mr. Miller. Maybe he was able to read my mind because he soon gave out a new sign. Garret was to start running once the pitcher was committed to throw. Hit-and-run.
The pitcher started his motion, throwing his curve once again. Besides the movement on a curveball, his was significantly slower than his fastball so easy to read. Garret took off and the fielders started to move. I swung and connected, pulling the ball to right field. The right fielder caught it on a bounce and hurried his throw in. I was safe at first while Garret had made it to third since he had a head start.
Sean came up next. The pitcher didn't mind me on first, but did a check throw to third, trying to keep Garret closer to the bag. Mr. Miller signed for me to take a bigger lead. I inched out some more, not as far as the first baseman but further than I would have liked.
The pitcher threw his first pitch to Sean, getting him to swing and miss the fastball. 0-1. Another check throw to third, but Garret saw it clearly. The second pitch was another fastball, Sean made contact, popping the ball high in the air. I ran to second until I heard the umpire declare the out. The first baseman had went in to catch the ball on the infield gra.s.s.
Dang. I jogged back to the dugout with the others. Garret pulled me and Sean in. "Hey, hey, don't mind. That was pretty good for our first time out against a new pitcher on a good team. We already proved that he's not unbeatable."
I nodded. "I think I'll be only seeing his curve though." I sighed.
"You won't know that for sure." Garret let go of me as we started to go to our bags separately. "Maybe he did that because I was already on first. With no one on in front of you, he might do it differently."
I nodded again, slowly understanding the situation.
We switched out our gear and hurried to join the other starters that had taken the field already.