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Grade
8

The roar of 250,000 people was deafening. Flashing lights so obnoxiously close to him they were blinding. The smooth, lightweight medal of the Commissioner's Trophy. Aaron recalled the memory for probably the thousandth time since it happened, months ago. Then, the starting pitcher, Bayne, was injured. Aaron smiled. He wasn’t happy particularly because Bayne was hurt, but because that meant he played as the pitcher for The Captors at the World Series. Now, because he, the rookie, lead his team to victory, he’s the starter of a team with a World Series title. In just one week, it would be time for his second season to start. It would be time for the Captors to rule once again. At least, that’s how Aaron like to think of it.

The Captors first game of the season was like any other of the lasts. But not for Aaron. Max Daniels, Coach, was recently married. His wife, Christine, he knew nothing about. But her daughter?  He also knew nothing about. Besides three simple facts. One, she is at this game. Two, her name’s Madison. And three? She is officially the most stunning girl he had ever seen in his entire life. And not like the girls in fairy tales, or the ones who had chased him all summer. She was stunning in a raw way, with her long blonde hair tangled and a baseball cap sideways over her head.

“Hey! Aaron! You playing or not!” he heard Coach yell as he snapped back into attention. Crap. He thought. He just realized everyone in the stadium waiting for his pitch. Jase, the catcher motioned him to hurry up. Out. His eyes wandered to where Madison was sitting, as he slowly walked of the field for halftime. Aaron watched as she pulled out a book, then her green eyes look up straight at him. She smiled. Then, so did Aaron. The game ended with an easy win for The Captors and a not as easy win of Madison’s number. As he understands, he was the fourth to ask her of his team, but the only one who she paid enough attention to to respond.

“Now why would I do that?” she had asked, picking up her things. Seemingly without expecting an answer, she turned and walked away.

“Because,” Aaron blocked her. “I’m Aaron Caster” he said simply.

“You say that like it matters” she moved around him.

“Oh, it does.”

And that was that. He had it. But no sign of her, not even at games. She hadn’t called, texted, or even e-mailed. Asking Coach where she had been felt kind of weird. That left one other option. Calling her first. He had never done that before.Aaron brushed off the thought and got ready for his next game. Captors vs. Hawks. Easy win for sure.

It happened in the 6th inning. After pitching, a line drive up the middle came at him faster than he could comprehend to move. By the time he had any idea that, in fact, that was a baseball was flying towards him, it was too late. It smashed into his jaw with a loud crack. He saw darkness before he felt the ground.

He woke up staring straight up at a blurry Madison. He opened his mouth to speak, but found he couldn’t without nauseating crackling in his jaw. She smirked, and left the hospital room to her step-father as the doctor came in.

“Hello Aaron, I’m Dr. Brayson” he said. “We checked for any damage to your brain, but there luckily aren’t signs of a concussion. There is a break in your jawbone, but in 8 weeks, you should be fine.”

Aaron felt very definitely far from fine. The right side of his face was swelled to the max and incredibly painful. For weeks,  the only thing he could even think of eating was soup and oatmeal. For weeks. The only upside was said soup was made and brought to him by Madison. During these visits they played video games and talked using a pen and paper. It was quite fun.

After 6 weeks he could speak and came to practice. The team desperately needed him if they wanted to attend The World Series. Bayne had carried them to where they were, but if Aaron didn’t get it together, they wouldn’t be able to be the best of American League. He was trying. Aaron was desperately trying.But he just sucked. His speed ball dropped from 97 mph to 68. When the batter hit the ball he not only flinched, but crouched down to the ground. He would never say it, but he was scared. Gosh he was scared. If he was hit again, he might have to retire, or worse. He’s heard of that happening to other players.

Maddison’s visits to Aaron’s apartment increased. Having her with him to joke and play video games actually helped. She practiced with him, and he was getting better. Maddison made him stand about 10 feet away from the wall, and throw a rubber ball at it. It would fly back at him, and he would try to catch it. If he didn’t, that’s why it was rubber. Not only was this fun, but it helped his pitching speed rise again. She even did the research for him.

“0.0004% of pitches come back to hit the pitcher in the head. 0.0004,” she said. “That means a pitcher is more likely to be killed in a car crash in their lifetime, then be hit in the head by a line drive.”  This information also helped. Especially since he didn’t own a car.

The Championships for American League went fantastically. It was his first game since when he was hurt. As expected, The Captors won, earning them a spot to play at The World Series. This caused an outbreak of news article after news article about Aaron and his recovery. However, there was much these stories missed, like Madison and her soup and video games.

The World Series was coming, and with it came many things. Nervous players, excited fans, and many people wasting very, very much money. Aaron’s made $200.00 in the last week by doing nothing but signing pieces of paper for young boys while their mothers handed him a five for his time. Like he didn’t have enough time. His anxiety and excitement was driving him crazy, and with nothing to do but practice, he liked the distraction of being incredibly famous.

The 6th inning was the worst. Even though he wasn’t scared in the other innings, the 6th made him embarrassingly nervous. He glanced around at all the people who came to see The World Series this year. Tickets probably cost way too much just to see him and some other guys through a ball around and run in circles. Don’t get me wrong, he said to himself, I absolutely love to play. But to spend money to sit here and watch? He’s never came as an audience member to a World Series game. Maybe when he’s older, but for now, he couldn’t even imagine.

Smack! He flinched as the batter hit the ball. It was microscopic, no one would notice. No one except Aaron. He decided he would continue to work on that.  Foul.  At least that was the end of the 6th inning.

The last three innings were a blur of excitement and pride. The Captors were winning once again. Aaron was winning once again.  Here comes the deja vu he laughed, the team picking him up, the Commissioner's Trophyin his hand.

“You should really write a book,” Madison would tell him. “You know, the life of an annoying cocky baseball star.”

“I’m not the kind of person who writes books.” He would smirk, “ I’m the kind who’s written about.”

 

 

State
MI