Want to keep reading?

You've reached the end of your complimentary access. Subscribe for as little as $4/month.

Aready a Subscriber ? Sign In

from the Stone Soup Blog

from “Flamethrower”

I was almost eleven in the warm, windy fall of the year 2019 when my baseball team, the Bulldogs, was playing in the little league semifinals. But still, I couldn’t help but want to crawl under my bed where I would be safe. I couldn’t even bear to glance at the opposing pitcher’s deep blue eyes. His fastball was so fast that if you rode on it around a highway, you would get fined for speeding.

My team crammed in the dugout before the game started, each of us getting to know one another way more than we wanted to. I swear I smelled vomit on the jersey of one of my teammates.

“Listen up, Bulldogs!” my coach, Adam, began to yell. “It’s the semifinals— if we don’t win this, each of you owes me five laps around the field!”

Everyone groaned. Everyone, with the exception of me and a few other boys. Not that we wanted to run laps, mind you, but because we were staring at the five-foot-seven kid on top of the mound warming up. He was literally throwing fireballs into the catcher’s rusty old well-padded brown mitt, with the glove strings tightly knotted. For a second, I didn’t care about the ten-pound gold trophy sitting on the table behind the dugout that would be handed out to the winner. I just cared about not getting plunked in the face by a seventy-mile-per-hour fastball thrown by the eleven-year-old Godzilla. Alright, alright, call me a scaredy cat, but let’s face it—you would be freaking out too.

The tap of Bowen Orberlie, one of my teammates, brought me back to reality.

“Earth to Jacob!” he said into my ear.

I shook, and glanced up at my coach, who was throwing darts out of his eyes to every single one of my teammates. Glancing down at a torn-up sheet of paper, he began to scream the starting lineup aloud, with little tiny molecules of spit coming out of his wide-open mouth as he spoke.

“Chan, leading off!” he yelled at the top of his lungs, so loud you would have thought he was my cousin after watching the New York Mets lose. I froze. To be honest, I should have been proud of my nearly .370 on-base percentage that had gotten me the role of batting leadoff in the semifinals, but—I. Did. Not. Want. To. Face. This. Pitcher.

The rest of the lineup was a blur. I couldn’t think straight. Trembling, I grabbed my Rawlings blue-and-silver bat and stepped outside the dugout. I began to take some dry swings—you know, the swings that coaches and parents always say will “help you get better.”

You can read the rest of Jacob’s piece at https://stonesoup.com/young-bloggers/.

About the Stone Soup Blog

We publish original work—writing, art, book reviews, multimedia projects, and more—by young people on the Stone Soup Blog. You can read more posts by young bloggers, and find out more about submitting a blog post, here: https://stonesoup.com/stone-soup-blog/.