The Hitting Zone
Chapter 989: V3 ch223 @ Servite HS (4)

It looked a little promising when Cody walked Jason to start off the fifth. But then it seemed like Cody had switched gears...or tactics I guess. He struck out Korrey on three pitches; all three pitches were his curveball.

"Does he think his fastball is not effective suddenly?" Noah mumbled.

"Maybe the fastball is losing speed." Garret threw in his opinion. "And because he's losing speed, he's overthrowing and that's why Jason got walked."

Mitchell struck out too. Three curveballs.

"Kyle doesn't have a chance." Noah sighed, taking off his helmet. He was supposed to be in the hole. But the matchup wasn't good. We wasted another baserunner. " He looked at me. "Is there a secret to hitting a curve?"

I sincerely thought about it.

"Normally you would avoid the curve and aim to attack a fastball." Garret said.

"If there's a spin, and you see it coming to your waist, hold back." I suggested. "Those would be balls. But like Garret said. Better to aim for a fastball."

Kyle struck out as expected.

We took the field for the bottom of the fifth. Kyle and Mitchell were last out of the dugout and got less time to warmup. Kyle gave up a leadoff single to the cleanup hitter. Next up, the fifth batter popped a fly ball high into the air. I started to track it back to the outfield grass. I felt a lump form in my throat as the ball started to come down.

"I've got it!!" Bryce hollered.

I immediately froze and didn't know what to do or where to go.

Bryce slid barely two feet away from me, snatching the ball before it could hit the grass. He hurried back up to throw the ball in to Sean. He then patted me on the shoulder. "Sorry, Jake. Didn't mean to steal one away from ya."

"It's okay. Thank you." I sighed with relief, happy with how it ended. It was better for Bryce to catch it for multiple reasons. One, he's a better fielder than me. Two, he was facing the right way whereas I was coming at an awkward angle. Three, he also had a better arm to get the ball back in, in case the runner wanted for try to tag up.

"One out!" Bryce called out as he backed up to his spot. Some of the guys echoed.

I jogged back to my position too.

"Come on, Kyle." Noah clapped his glove. "To me this time."

Kyle glanced back and rolled his eyes for Noah to see. He looked over his left shoulder to check the runner at first before facing the sixth batter. Whether it was because of Noah's request or because this guy had previously hit into a double play, when he connected, the ball went right to Noah. He fielded it to me, I stepped on second base and threw to first, and made sure to get completely out of the runner's way. Even if it wasn't the same runner.

With the double play accomplished, the inning was over and we jogged it back in to the dugout.

"Can't your jinxed mouth say something more beneficial to me?" Kyle asked Noah, showing annoyance. "Like strike out the side."

"What could be more beneficial than getting two outs off one pitch?" Noah shrugged, heading to his bag. We were going to start back at the top of our lineup.

Kyle rolled his eyes and continued further down the dugout where Mitchell was.

"A few more strikeouts would make him really happy." I commented. "After all, Marie is here watching."

Noah snorted and rolled his eye. "Please. If my mouth really worked right, all the hits would come my way. I would dominate this game with my fielding."

I nodded slowly. That was very much true.

Noah left the dugout before me, going out to join Bryce. I got ready too though, joining Garret in the hole.

Garret grinned down at me. "Here we are again."

I smiled and nodded back.

"Let's do some real damage this time." He patted me on the head.

I nodded again.

Bryce was called to the plate. Still Cody on the mound. Bryce watched the first pitch to see if he was still sticking to the curves. He was. Called strike. 0-1. Bryce didn't watch pitch two. He swung and fouled it off towards our dugout. 0-2.

"C'mon Bryce!"

"You're a pitcher too! Don't let him get you!"

"Straighten it out, you've got the hang of it!"

Our dugout cheered for our teammate. Bryce fouled off another curve ball. Then another. On the fifth pitch, I don't know what happened, but Cody threw a fastball. Bryce made him pay by hitting it through for a single.

"I wonder if he was just trying to throw Bryce off with his speed or if his elbow is hurting from all the curves?" Garret mused before leaving me for the on deck circle.

We were bound to tell on the first pitch to Noah. A fastball outside for a ball. Mr. Miller gave Noah a sign to bunt to get Bryce to advance. He had to lay it down the third baseline. Noah acknowledged as did Bryce since he would have to start his run sooner.

Cody got the ball back and reset himself. He then took his foot off the rubber to throw to first.


Bryce dove back to first and the tag came down.

"Safe!" The umpire declared.

The first baseman threw the ball back to Cody on the mound. Only then did Bryce get up and dust himself off. Cody faced Noah again, doing a quick motion. Noah wasn't thrown off by it; he shifted into bunt position, bending his knees and moving his fingers. The ball bounced off his bat and he took off. Bryce was already halfway to second base.

"Stay fair! Stay fair!" Kyle was the loudest one, standing against the dugout fence.

The third baseman and pitcher charged the ball. The pair didn't make a move to pick it up and watched as it slowly rolled down the line until it came to a stop.

"Fair!" The home plate umpire was there to make the call.

The third baseman picked the ball up and checked the runners. Bryce and Noah were both safe. No need to throw the ball. The two of them walked back to the mound and the rest of the infielders joined them.

I left the dugout to stand with Garret.

"They've got a tough decision to make." Garret grinned. "Noah really came through with that bunt single."

I nodded. Servite will have to decide whether to pitch to Garret, who has a single and a lineout to center, or to walk him and load the bases for me. Either way, I think we're in a pretty good spot. I looked up at Garret and covered my mouth. "You can get a hit, right?"

"No guarantee on whether it'll be a hit." He squinted. "But it'll definitely get to the outfield. I have the advantage on this kid. Honestly, if I was their coach, I would pull him and put someone better in."

"Why don't they?" I asked. The guy has done well, but now he's given up back-to-back singles. He was showing fatigue.

Garret shrugged. "He's a sophomore and it's early in the season. Maybe they want to see what he can do in this kind of pressured situation." He grinned. "We can't let them get away with this."

Chapter 989: V3 ch223 @ Servite HS (4)
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