…The pitcher looked over his left shoulder for a brief moment and turned to look to the catcher. Then, he quickly spun, whirling his right arm toward first base.

It all happened so quickly: the base runner dove back to first base and the first baseman swiped his large mit through the sand at the runner. The baserunner looked up, squinting through the cloud of sand to see the first baseman run toward the woods, shouting, “Shit!” The crowd began yelling, “Go! Go! Go!”. With excitement, the baserunner jumped to his feet and ran toward second base.

Forty-five feet from a base and confused, the runner found himself in a run-down, the pitcher bearing down on him from the mound, still holding the ball. He was shocked, duped: the dry weather, opponents and crowd had collectively conspired against him. He would stop and try to return to first base, unsuccessfully outrunning the pitcher who would tag him.

We were about to win yet another game, cementing our “legacy” with a third consecutive sectional title.

We were young and inexperienced in life, but coach had a knack for teaching impressionable young men how to win.


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