"Gather 'round, boys," we heard the Coach call!
"Practice is over! It's time to play ball!"
We stood in a circle; our hands were outstretched
And on our game faces, resolve--firmly etched.
The Coach called our names, going right down the list,
So we'd know our positions; so no one was missed.
Then Coach led our Cubs in a rousing good cheer,
To muster our courage and cast away fear.
We took to the field, all eyes on the mound.
For just a brief moment there wasn't a sound.
At home plate the umpire yelled out through his hands,
"Play Ball!" broke the silence for players and fans.
Up first were The Giants; we'd heard they could hit.
But what mattered most was if they could spit.
For spittin' is part of every boy's game,
And doing it well was a sign of great fame.
We sized up their team from the very beginning
Learning more of their game with each passing inning.
Which team would blink first? Who'd score the first run?
Which team will have won when the game is all done?
By the end of six innings, no one had yet scored;
And nothing but goose eggs appeared on the board.
"The pitchers are dueling," we heard the coach say.
"The team that scores first may well win the day."
In no time, eight innings had quickly passed by,
With only two grounders and just one pop fly.
By the top of the ninth, it was still zip to zip,
With everyone waiting for something to rip.
Those Giants tried hard to get 'round the bases.
They hit the ball good, in all the right places.
By the time they were out, they'd made three their score,
So, to win, we knew that we had to make four.
We ran to the dugout for our last at bat,
Listening to Coach as we nervously sat.
His words were pure gold in his final pep talk.
"Just try your best, boys, whether hit, run or walk."
John's hit to left-center took off like a shot.
Would the left fielder catch it? Is he in the right spot?
John stopped at first base-just three more to go.
Coach yelled, "Come on, Cubbies, let's make this a show!"
Two more hits put runners on first, second, third.
The fans got so quiet, a pin could be heard.
The tension was mounting-three on, no one out.
Surely, we'd win. Could there be any doubt?
But remember, those guys are The Giants, you know?
Their fielders are good-all our hits may not go.
Then in moments, our next two batters went down.
With three on and two out-up stepped Billy Brown.
The first pitch was high, not quite on the mark.
"Ball one!" Loud and clear, we heard the ump bark.
After four pitches more, the Coach told us all,
"It's full count! So, run on any hit ball!"
The game could be over with just one more pitch.
A ball or a strike, we didn't know which.
The pitcher looked Billy right square in the eye.
He finished his wind-up and let the ball fly.
As if in slow motion, the bat came around.
Then, crack! He connected. Oh, wow! What a sound!
The ball took its flight as our runners advanced.
We jumped off the bench and stood there, entranced.
First John and then Jack, made it in to home base,
While deep in right field, a Giant gave chase.
He ran the ball down as Tom tied the score,
Then heaved it toward home to stop number four.
With long, dusty strides Billy headed for third.
He saw the Coach waving but heard not a word.
Then, rounding third base, he finally heard "Run!"
So, racing toward home, he gave it the gun.
The catcher was standing right over home base.
The ball bounced before him, suspended in space.
And in that split second, Billy did what he must;
Slid under the catcher, in a cloud of white dust.
The umpire yelled "Safe!" as the dust and dirt cleared,
Then Parents and Coaches all stood up and cheered.
We'd scored on The Giants and won our last game.
On this day in Mudville, we'd earned our great name.