Saturday, May 10, 2008

Kyra at the Bat

I haven't written too much about the girls' softball games this Spring because there really hasn't been much to write about. Aside from Kailey making her pitching debut and a few defensive plays here and there, their season has been unremarkable. I think they've had about five hits between them all season long, quite a turn around from last season. I'm primarily to blame as I haven't taken had the time to work with them, and I feel badly about that.

This past week has been one of the crappiest of recent memory. I had final projects due in both classes, Kailey was sick, my boss was fired, creating turmoil in my department, and I spent way too much time talking with pushy mortgage lenders as we investigate refinancing the house. When we found out that Kailey woke up with a fever, meaning she would miss today's game, the last thing I wanted to do was go to watch Kyra struggle through the game on her own. Boy was I wrong.

The girls' team has thirteen players. Everyone bats, and in a three-inning game with a three-run limit per inning, only the first batters are assured of hitting more than once in a game. Since Kailey and Kyra have been sucking it up at the plate this year, they've been hitting at the bottom of the order and averaging only one at-bat per game. This morning only eight players showed up. There would be multiple at bats for all.

The girls spent the night with my in-laws, so my father-in-law got Kyra to field before the game. Diane and I arrived about fifteen minutes before game time where we met her coach in the parking lot. "I pitched batting practice with whiffle golf balls, and Kyra hit every single one," he told us. "Let's hope she does it in the game."

We'll see, I thought.

Given her impressive BP display, Kyra was slotted to bat second. The first batter struck out, and Kyra strode confidently into the batters box. She looked good. The pitcher threw four consecutive balls which brought out the coach to pitch. It seems like the only time I pray these days is when the girls come to bat. "Please, Dear Lord..." She swung at the first pitch and missed, strike one.

"That's OK! Good swing, Kyra! Watch that ball all the way to the bat!"

She fouled off the next pitch, strike two.

"Good job, Kyra! You got a piece of it! Now straighten it out!"

Coach held up the ball, made sure Kyra was ready, then sent it spinning toward the plate. There was joy in Mudville today, though. The mighty Kyra hit the ball. Fair. A high pop fly that dropped right between the pitcher, third baseman, and shortstop, who all looked at each other expecting someone else to try and catch it. It wasn't pretty, but Kyra got on base. We went ballistic.

She batted twice more, crushing the ball both times for doubles. She scored three times and the Vipers won a hard fought game 9-5. Better late than never, I guess.

After the game, her coach asked her what she had for breakfast.

"A cinnamon roll."

Breakfast of champions.

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