Bronze

Last Thursday night, Hubs and I bought a bag of sunflower seeds that weighed as much as the US deficit, and we went to the baseball fields.

Again.

We settled ourselves in with Mika and James and my dad behind left field, and we talked and talked and talked, while we passed the seeds around for more than  half an hour, while the boy and his team of Bats warmed up.  We talked and we laughed, and we secretly rejoiced that, NO MATTER WHAT, it was our VERY LAST NIGHT of baseball this year.

And then the game started, and low!  Guess who was pitching?  The revelation of the evening’s pitcher pretty much ended my seat in the outfield, as I had to migrate closer to the bleachers, so that I could be a member of the paparazzi in prime position for snapshots.

The Bats have some pretty handsome pitchers, but I think that THIS ONE is probably the cutest one who has thrown balls at home plate all summer.

Eventually, Hank Aaron came up to the plate.  He was a full foot taller than our boy, and his arms were shaped like sides of beef.  We knew that he could do some damage to a baseball when he swung the bat, because he looked like a boy who knew how to empty a tall glass of Protein Shake.

The boy sent the first pitch in.  Hank Aaron swung…AND HE MISSED!  Strike one!

The boy fired the second pitch in.  Hank Aaron watched it all the way.  He watched it land in the catcher’s mitt, and he didn’t even swing.  We all whooped and hollered like lunatics from the bleachers when the umpire yelled out, “Strike two!”

And then, in what was probably one of the most well-thought-out plays all summer, the boy sent the third pitch sailing towards home plate…

…and he hit Hank Aaron in the thigh.

Oh, Hank’s thighs were bigger around than our boy’s waist, so he probably didn’t feel a single thing.  And Hank took his walk, which was A GOOD THING, because he didn’t get the opportunity to jack a pitch over the fence.  Our boy had his thinking cap on while he was pitching, rest assured.

Besides, what Major League Pitcher HASN’T hit a batter before?!

And look who came out to the ballfield to watch the Bats play!  It was the boy’s buddy, Carter.  He ended up on a different team this year, because he didn’t decide to play baseball until after registration had taken place.  By then, our school’s team roster was plum full, so Carter played elsewhere.

But we know where his heart was at!  Right in our dugout, with a huge bag of sunflower seeds!

The boy did some batting on Thursday night, and he came away with two singles for his evening efforts.

The boy managed to stomp on all the bases, so that he could score a run for the Bats.

The Bats were all in high spirits, as we managed to grab three runs that vaulted us onto the LEADING SIDE of the scoreboard.  Dalton, the boy and Enzo all grinned for the camera.

Also?

I bribed them with more sunflower seeds to smile nicely!

Kellen and the boy and Garrett were whooping and pumping their fists in the air as we took the lead.

And then LOOK!

A double rainbow!

Kellen played catcher for a while, and I hollered out, “Hey, Catcher!  Give me a sweet smile, so I can get a picture for your mama!”

The catcher was more than happy to do just that.

When the boy was done pitching, he played 3rd base for a while with a mouthful of sunflower seeds.

And then he spent an inning behind home plate, catching some pitches.

Mikayla grinned for a picture while she was warming up to hit.  What I didn’t capture on a digital memory card for all the world to see is the hit she delivered!  It would have been a well-planned strategic move if the pitcher had hit Mikayla in the thigh so she could have walked to her base.  Instead, the pitcher fired a pitch in, and Mikayla smacked it out.  Way!  Out! Enzo’s mama and I nearly popped our vocal chords in half while we were cheering for that girl, and then we looked at one another and shouted, “MVP!”

The boy and Teegan kept hopping up and down in the dugout while the Bats were batting.  They kept shouting out, “I think we’re going to win this game!”

And do you know what?

The boy and Teegan were plum right.  At 10:00 that night, the scoreboard said, “Bats, 10; Other Guys, 4.”

Everyone headed out onto the field to shake hands.  It had been a long, hot night, and the uniforms were crying out for a swim in Tide, with a Spray ‘N Wash pre-soak.

And do you know what beating the Other Guys did for the Bats?

Well, it gave them 3rd place in the season’s tournament.

Oh, yeah!

Third!  Place! Teegan, the boy and Enzo used sign language to convey the message, after they’d turned in their filthy uniforms.

The boy and Kellen tossed out some Third Place Grins, too.

And then Louden jumped into the picture with the boys.

And that, people, is the end of Baseball, 2011 for us.  There will be no more ball games this summer with a giant bag of sunflower seeds, while we cheer for the Bats.

Because, did y’all hear?

The Bats took THIRD PLACE IN THEIR TOURNAMENT!

Whoop!  Whoop!

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