Competitive by Nature (Part 3 of 3)

He blinked a few times to clear his vision and found himself standing halfway between the on-deck circle and home plate. He looked around at the bleachers full of parents and friends shouting and clapping encouragement. He turned and saw his teammates getting ready to take leads on base. A few flies buzzed around his head and he absently brought his hand up to shoo them away until he realized what he was doing and stopped himself in mid-swat.

One fly flew directly in front of his face and hovered there a few seconds before rounding up its friends and leading them elsewhere. The moment ended when the umpire shouted, “Hey batter! We’re waiting for you!”

Startled, he shook himself and continued towards the plate. He stepped into the batter’s box, planted his feet, and brought the bat up to position over his shoulder. McDery got his sign and started his windup. Train’s reflexes took over as the ball approached him. His body went into motion and the bat impacted the hard white ball directly over the plate. The ball’s forward momentum reversed and increased by the power of the bat. It shot straight up the middle, causing McDery to duck as it whizzed past his ear. It landed two inches short of the center field fence and took a weird bounce off a rock missed by the groundskeeper. Train was rounding second by the time the center fielder even reached the ball. He was rounding third by the time the throw reached the cutoff man. His teammates were chanting, “TRAIN! TRAIN! TRAIN!” as he charged towards home. The throw made it to the catcher who turned to tag him, blocking the plate in the process. For a split-second, Train saw the image of a slug-like critter dripping pus from eleven tentacles onto black sand. He blinked once more and saw home plate behind the catcher. Train put his head down and dove headfirst for home plate between the catcher’s legs.

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