8 is her number
McKinley is her name
Yes she is the reason
We're gonna win this game.
The dugout is cheering and going crazy. Bases are loaded, and 'Big Mac' is up to bat. Although she's skinny, she got the nickname because she's a finisher. Known for being a clutch player, 'Big Mac' sends balls deep into center field. She's hit the scoreboard at least five times this season and hit the ball over the fence at least six. Someone from the stands hollered 'Big Mac,' and it stuck.
It's a full count, two strikes and three balls at the bottom of the seventh inning, and we're down by two. If 'Big Mac' does what she's known for doing, she'll bring us all home, and we'll win the game.
"Stay calm and focus," Coach Todd yelled from the coach’s box.
The pitcher throws the ball, and crack! 'Big Mac' lives up to her name again, sending the ball deep into center field right over the fence. Our dugout loses it and runs to home plate to welcome us in chanting:
We miss you
We miss you
"That's the ball game!" The umpire yells.
It’s shaping up to be the best summer ever! I'm playing my dream position, and our team chemistry is the best it's ever been. Most of us have played together since twelve and under softball, and we're genuine friends. Coach says you can't buy the kind of chemistry we've developed over the years.
I'll dream about this game for months to come. I had four runs and made four outs, and almost a double play. Jade, my best friend, and our first baseman, dropped the ball. We're working on making that play work. By the big tournament, we'll have it. We're practicing, but game situations always come out different.
The whole drive home I gave a recap of the highlights with my family. They could barely get a word in. Mama did finally say, "When we get home, we need to talk."
"Are you kidding me," I said, dropping into a chair at the kitchen table. "But it's a big tournament for our team. Ma, it's a big tournament for me!
"There will be more tournaments this summer, and the next. There is more to life than playing softball. Gran's house is too much for her to take care of by herself, and her health has not been the best lately. She needs our help, and we are going to give it to her. Our family is important and comes first above everything else."
"What about Uncle Jaxon or Auntie Liv and their families. Can't they do it, or at least help? Why do we have to?"
"I can't count on either of them right now. Your dad and I have discussed it, and our decision is final."
"And you never considered how your decision would impact me, or even how I'd feel about it. I've worked hard, really hard over the last year to get better. And now that I've finally secured my position as shortstop, you're snatching the rug from under me. I'm not saying I don't want to help Gran, but can we do it after my tournament?"
"Don't be so dramatic, Daisy. We're all making sacrifices. And I need you to move your things into your brother's room before we leave. When we return, I want the room to be ready for Ma' Dear."
"D.J., ma. Will you please call me DJ all the time?"
From where I sit, it looks like I'm the only one making sacrifices around here. Gran is coming to live with all of us, but I'm having to give up my room and miss a crucial tournament. Other than my parent’s bedroom, mine is the next largest, plus it has a bathroom. Daddy says he wants Gran to have her privacy.
I have to move in with J.P., my nine-year-old brother. His room smells like old cheese, he farts in his sleep and still has an imaginary friend. I'd be better off sleeping in a closet. Or, since I'm a girl, my older brother J.R. and J.P. should room together, and I get a room to myself. My parents wouldn't even entertain the thought. So, I'm stuck bunking with J.P.
Like I said before, I'm missing a crucial softball tournament. Mama thinks it's just another tournament in a summer of tournaments. It's so much more. I've worked my butt off to move from outfield to shortstop. I've practiced all year long, including during the off-season. I've always wanted to play shortstop, since nine years old, when I first started playing. Daddy took me to see a college softball game, and Kattie Pierre was the shortstop. She was ridiculously good, catching balls, and tagging runners between first and second base. Kattie stopped a ground ball, tagged second base, and slung it to first making a double play. From that day, I set my sights on playing shortstop just like her.
My coaches have always played me outfield because of my speed. Finally, I got the chance to prove just myself in-field, and Coach Todd gave me a chance. So far this season, I've led our team in runs and outs. I haven't made a double-play yet, but I'm looking forward to that day. I don't want to let our team down.
This upcoming tournament is a game-changer for all of us. It's the Super Summer Classic Showdown In Chicago. The top two teams are guaranteed a bid to the Mid-West Nationals in Chicago. Coach Todd says we have a good shot. Playing on that level is the kind of opportunity softball players only get in their dreams. And it opens doors high school can't. There will be college coaches from all over looking for their next stand out player. Although Katie Pierre hasn't played for years, she still attends
When we return to practice tomorrow, I have to tell my teammates and coach, that I won't be going with them to the big tournament, and their shot at Nationals is basically in the hands of Mya.
This has been a sample of Chapter One. You still have the opportunity to pre-order on the website, just click here. Thanks in advance for your support, and being the best part of my journey.