Champions
Tara, Age 13, Doylestown, PA

Like a butterfly about to break though and explore the world, my season started. It was five weekends ago and we had our first tournament of the season. On Saturday of the tournament we had gone three and zero—three wins and no losses, out of three games. With this kind of record, we were the number one seed.

We went into Sunday feeling really confident. The first inning on Sunday we were down—I wanted to win, as well as my teammates. The entire game we were down, but our spirits lifted in the bottom of the seventh. Audrey, a player on my team, tied the game up with a two-run homerun. I was up—the winning run: me. I imaged myself rounding the bases and scoring the winning run. I laid down a bunt—thankfully, I was safe. I stole second easily and Hayley had a chance to hit me home with one swing. The pitch, Hayley launched the ball to right field, right over the first baseman’s head. The right fielder came up throwing—there was going to be a play at home. My dad was screaming and waving me home. I slid into home, just under the tag of the catcher. I was safe and that was the game—we had won—a come from behind victory. The roar of our fans and the cry of the other team was ear piercing. Everyone was on the field screaming, but we still had to play another game. Our team was blood-thirsty for more; we had to win the championship.

The championship game: The top of the first inning we shut down the Banshees, the opposing team. Bottom of the first, we jumped all over them, scoring four runs in the bottom of the inning. We continued going back and forth, us making great defensive plays, allowing no runs, and us scoring. Finally, at top of the fifth, we were up nine to nothing. The mercy rule was now in play—a team was up by eight or more runs after five or more innings of play. All we had to do was get three outs and we would win. Their bench was as quiet as bears in the winter. It seemed like they could not care less that they were here. We had to win this game.

As we are about to take the field, we get into our huddle.

My dad shouted, “Do you hear them? They’re Crickets. Let’s show them the Mustang way!”

I replied, “Let’s put them in a hole!”

Julia screamed, “And fill it up with dirt!”

“And sit on it,” Jen exclaimed.

My entire team fell to the ground in laughter. But it was time to be serious: we needed to win this game. If we were not serious, this game could crumble like a biscuit.

“Let's all be serious now!” said Coach Bill. “Let's go out there and show them who we are—show them that we don’t slow up no matter how many runs we’re up by.”

We took the field and the pressure was on. I thought about how great it would feel to hold the trophy. I could feel the oily, gold-painted Styrofoam trophy in the palms of my hands. I had to be serious; I couldn’t think about the future, we still had to get the outs. I had to focus on now. The first batter laid down a bunt, hoping for a hit, but we got her out. One out, only two more and we would win. The next batter hit a ground ball to me; I make a good, quick throw—two outs. The Banshees were down to their final out.

“Strike One!” said the umpire.

She fouled off the next pitch. The count was 0-2. Next pitch, Brooke threw it right down the middle of the plate.

“Strike Three!” shouted the umpire.

We had won! There was a mob at the pitcher’s mound. We all were jumping, screaming, and having fun—exactly what a team should do. To be good sports, we shook hand with the other team.

We said, “Good game,” even though the other team was really mad. They slapped our hands forcefully.

Now it was trophy time. The losing team lined up on the third base line. They were called up one by one until they received the finalist plaque. It was our turn now. All of us lined up on the first base line, a white chalked line now squiggled due to our footprints. We were clapping and screaming as our coach individually called our names. When the trophy ceremony was over, we all gathered around home plate.

This was the moment that I realized how much I loved everyone around me. Softball is a team sport and not one person could win the game. Every single Mustang person (family or player) contributed to make this day so special. I am so thankful to everyone who helped make this possible. I imagine winning a lot of tournament with this team. The season just got going like a car that has been sitting all winter.  

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