Mayfield Magic

Chapter 13-T.E.A.M.

 Aiden and Nolan cooked up Sunday breakfast in their role as naked chefs. Larry and Phil helped by setting the table. The teamwork led to a breakfast of fried eggs cooked to order, link sausage, buttered toast, and a fresh fruit bowl. The boys were up at nine because Nolan was expected to attend the eleven o’clock service at the church the family would start attending in Mayfield.
“It sounded like you boys were having fun last night,” Phil grinned as breakfast neared an end. Nolan and Aiden both turned bright red with embarrassment.
“Um…well…yeah,” Aiden finally managed to squeak out.
“And what do you think we want to talk to you about?”
“Making too much noise.”
“Exactly. You know how your pop and I feel about you two having sex. We’ve talked about that at length, so that’s not the issue. We don’t mind you doing it on the balcony if you’re where you can’t be seen.”
Phil glanced at Larry who said, “But, just as if you were doing it indoors, your noise has to be controlled. If you want to screech at the top of your lungs, there is plenty of forestland in the area where you can screech to your heart’s content.”
“Do you think my parents heard us?” Nolan asked with trepidation.
“I doubt it. There are two stands of trees separating our properties and I’m sure they absorbed the sound.”
“Why didn’t you stop us last night?” Aiden asked.
“Because the chances of you being heard by anybody but the Wilkersons was unlikely.” The Wilkersons were an older couple who lived to the east of the Miller house. “And their hearing isn’t all that sharp.”
“They may have thought it was us anyway,” Phil chuckled.
“We promise to be careful,” Nolan said.
“Maybe we can wear masks,” Aiden suggested.
“You boys will find a way. You know that you don’t need to be silent—that’s close to impossible. But you can’t be screeching at the top of your lungs, either,” Larry said.
“Okay, dads, we got it and we’ll do our best to be quieter, right Nolan?”
“I concur,” Nolan said, pleased with his word usage.
“Can we still, you know, well, do it…do it…”
“Outdoors?” Larry asked. “Like we said, as long as you can’t be seen.”
“Aiden, I’ve never known you to be embarrassed by the subject of sex,” Phil said.
“Then you need to do a better job of reading my mind,” Aiden giggled. “But this is, like so different with Nolan and me being neighbors. We have a lot of stuff to get used to.”
“And we’re sure you’ll do a good job of adjusting to the change,” Larry said. “Remember that your dad and I will always be here for you to talk to; and I mean both of you.”
With that, Nolan and Aiden rose from the table and headed upstairs to shower and dress. In the shower, they discussed their conversation with Larry and Phil and swore to each other they would do better. They also expressed their gratitude that Aiden had such understanding dads.
“And to think we’ll be playing baseball for both of them over the next few years,” Nolan said.
“Yep. Two men who heard you screaming your lungs out while getting your ass fucked,” Aiden smirked.
Nolan wrapped his fingers around Aiden’s hard, wet, cock, and started to stroke it as the shower water cascaded down Aiden’s abdomen. “I’ve got a half hour before I get picked up,” Nolan said.
“Keep going like you are and I’ll just need a half a minute.”
It took just a bit less than two minutes for Aiden to shoot his load over Nolan’s wet skin. He then got down on his knees and placed his lips around Nolan’s erection. Nolan ended up being the one who needed just a half a minute to cum.
After Nolan was picked up for church, Aiden called Gordy and Miles to see if they wanted to come over to swim, throw a baseball around, or play some wiffle ball. He said they could invite somebody to join them if they wanted. Gordy called the twins, who said they could come to Aiden’s.  Knowing that Mason would be going to church and visiting with his friend Freddie, Miles called Rusty. Even though Rusty was a bit of a loner, he still wanted to be included in events with his teammates and was very happy to be invited.
The six boys enjoyed an afternoon of skinny dipping, sandwiches, freshly squeezed lemonade, and VERY competitive wiffle ball. The wiffle ball was the only thing they did with clothes on. Aiden, Rusty, and Lenny made up one team and Gordy, Lance, and Miles made up the other. Larry and Phil observed that the wiffle ball game would be a play to win affair. The boys were in competition mode. It was as if they played any way other than hard, smart, and to win, it would keep them from getting into the right frame of mind for the upcoming championship playoff games.
<Mayfield Middle School>
The next evening saw the six wiffle ball boys totally amped for the Goats’ practice, and they had company. Scott, Mac, Trent, Muddy, and Riley were as amped as the wiffle ball boys. Mason, Grant, and Emmett sensed what was happening and kicked their aggressiveness up a notch. Only Max remained somewhat laid back. Max felt using too much energy in practice was the equivalent of wasting the energy. It was not that he didn’t hustle, he just didn’t get into competition mode.
The player the Goats put much of their focus to was Nolan. Even though he wouldn’t be participating in the playoff games, Nolan understood that he needed to practice at the same intensity level as his new teammates. Aiden had told him about the intense wiffle ball game in his backyard. Nolan knew he had to use that as his example, so when the California practices, which would be his “real” practices, started after the playoff games had been played, he would show the Goats what made him tick. He needed to show them he practiced like they did—hard, smart, and to win—even when he couldn’t play and he would settle for nothing less.  
Coach Hallion was surprised at how quickly the team had accepted Nolan. Two days ago, he had been the Goats’ rival on the mound and now he was fitting in like he’d been playing for them all summer. He shouldn’t have been surprised, however. The night before he had asked Trent how he thought the team would accept their two pickup pitchers. His answer had said a lot about the team dynamics. “Nolan will fit in great. Because he’s Aiden’s boyfriend, almost everybody already knows him. Plus, we’ve played against him so much that the team can see not only how good he is but how hard he works. I bet Nolan comes to his first practice and acts like he’s played for us forever.”
James Hallion thought his son was being a bit optimistic, but it didn’t take him long to admit that Trent had Nolan’s acceptance by the team pegged perfectly. When he asked about Calvin Loggins, Trent replied that he thought it would take Cal longer to fit in since he and his teammates would have to get to know each other. “Aiden is the only one who’s really talked to him much, but everybody agrees he’s a really friendly guy and a great pitcher. I think after he’s practiced with us he’ll be a good part of the team. Scott, Aiden, and I are going to work to make sure everybody welcomes and accepts him when he comes to his first practice.”
Coach Hallion, Eric, and Kevin had been disappointed that Skyler couldn’t play for them. He was without a doubt the best pitcher in the Southwest League. But the coaches agreed that Cal was a good alternate choice. He was now officially on the tournament roster and would be at their next practice. From what they had seen and heard during the season, having Trent, Nolan, and Calvin on their pitching staff gave them three of the top five pitchers in the league. Aiden and Scott were both skillful pitchers as well. How the small-town pitchers would fare against the big boys in California was a different matter altogether.
The practice went smoothly. Nolan quickly learned the routines and the drills. The practice was more organized than his Scrapper practices had been. Coach Hallion and his assistants expected the drills to be run with precision. The also did a lot of situational drills, like putting a runner on second, telling the players in the field that there was one out, and hitting a variety of grounders and fly balls, switching the fielders every three minutes. When a player wasn’t participating in the situational drill he was with Eric or Kevin working on the batting tee, hitting wiffle balls into the fence.
What Nolan would learn from Aiden was that Larry and Phil were Coach Hallion’s mentors. They showed him how to lay out the schedule, assign the players to drills, and keep things moving. It also helped that Eric and Kevin had played for Larry and Phil from sixth grade through their senior year.
When practice was over, Nolan rode with Aiden to Aiden’s house. Larry was their driver and asked Nolan for his impression of his first Goat practice.
“It was fun,” Nolan responded. “The coaches are really organized and there’s not much standing around. Plus, they teach us a lot, especially Eric and Kevin. I can tell they played for you, Coach, they know their sh…stuff. So, yeah, it’s a lot of fun.”
“I’m glad you had fun. That’s the key.”
“I know that’s part of the Goat motto. Aiden’s told me what it is more than once, but this is the first time I got to say it with my team. ‘Play hard, play smart, play to win, and above all HAVE FUN!”
“And Kevin told us a new one today,” Aiden said. “He says he learned it when he was playing college ball. It goes: T-E-A-M; Together, Everyone Achieves More.”
“I’ve heard that acronym, but have never used it,” Larry said as he turned into his driveway. “Next spring might be as good a time as any, I suppose.”
“Are you ever going to use the Goat motto?” Nolan asked.
“If I do, it won’t be until this class of Goats becomes Mustangs.”
Larry shut off the engine and the boys got their gear out of the back and dashed into the house where Phil had roast beef sandwiches and a mixed vegetable medley waiting for them. Nolan had asked for permission to spend the night and received it. Since Tuesday and Wednesday nights were game nights, his mother knew that Aiden would want to sleep by himself. She and Nolan’s father wondered how long that self-imposed rule would last and how they would deal with it when the boys decided to try sleeping together on a game night.
Aiden received an expected Skype call from Marty a little after eight o’clock. It was an off day for the Mariners, giving Marty time to call. Aiden and Nolan took the call together. The boys were wearing nothing but gym shorts. Marty had insisted on their being dressed should they ever talk to him face to face together. Still, Marty found their bare chests and abs sexy. He was certain if the pair took their shorts off there was a good chance he would spontaneously erupt in a flood of semen.
Marty noted the difference in their development. Nolan’s arms and torso showed definite muscle development. He wondered if Nolan was lifting weights (the answer was yes). Aiden had a well-toned torso, but the heavy muscle development hadn’t yet started. He thought it was getting near time for Larry and Phil to start Aiden on a weight training program, but he would leave that up to them. He had no doubt that his former coaches knew their stuff.
Of course, they talked baseball, starting with how the Mariners were doing in the pennant race and how it felt to be an All-Star now that the season was back in full swing. They next talked about the Goat and Bulldog series starting on Wednesday.
“Have you ever heard of Together Everybody Achieves More?” Aiden asked.
“Oh, yeah. Coach Sanchez, our third base and outfield coach, likes to be a motivator, and that acronym is one of his favorites,” Marty responded. “The thing about that saying is that it’s true, which is why it’s caught fire lately.” Marty wished Aiden good luck in the series.
“Thanks, but like you’ve told me a zillion times, you make your own good luck. And the Goats like to say, ‘Play hard, play smart, play to win, and have fun’. I guess that would be a way to make our own luck.”
Aiden wanted to talk about the BaseBrawl in California, but Marty stopped him. “I’ll call after you win your championship on Thursday and then we’ll devote the whole phone call to the big Brawl. And with Nolan joining the Goats for the tournament, make sure he sits in on the call.”
“I’ll cut him off if he doesn’t,” Nolan grinned.
“Oh, don’t do that—it would be pretty bloody.”
“MARTY!” Nolan and Aiden screeched together.
The three laughed together, Marty then told Aiden to spank the Bulldogs, Aiden told Marty to spank the Phillies harder, and they ended the call.
After the call, Aiden and Nolan once again had sex on the balcony, this time with Aiden being the bottom. They had reasonable success keeping their noise under control and a ton of success cumming within seconds of each other as Nolan plowed deep into his boyfriend’s hot ass.
When they finally climbed into Aiden’s bed, they were more than ready to go to sleep. Aiden had grabbed Horace and he now set the stuffed Donkey above their heads.
“When I sleep in your bed, Sugar Bear, Casey has to sleep with us,” Aiden told Nolan. Casey was Nolan’s stuffed teddy bear.
Nolan wasn’t quite as attached to Casey as Aiden was to Horace but saw no reason to say no to Aiden’s request. “And some night, Casey and Horace have to sleep together with us,” Nolan said.
“That sounds kinky, but I can go with it,” Aiden yawned. He cuddled with his naked boyfriend and both boys fell asleep quickly under the eye of the ever-watchful Horace.
<Aiden and Nolan>
After breakfast, Aiden and Nolan sat with Larry in the conference room. Both boys were dressed in t-shirts and underpants. During their shower, they had discussed getting Calvin involved with the Goats. They agreed that talking to Larry to see what he thought of their ideas and to find out if he had any ideas of his own would be a good idea. Since this was a serious issue, they decided they should be wearing something, even if it was just underwear. Phil was at work, or they would have involved him as well, but they wanted to talk to Cal as soon as they could.
“Calvin wasn’t at yesterday’s practice because he was away with his father, correct?” Larry asked.
“Correct,” Aiden answered. “I know Coach gave him the game and practice schedule and sent him and his parents the travel schedule. Cal told us he should be home sometime this afternoon.”
“What would you be suggesting he do?”
“We’re hoping he can come to our playoff game tomorrow,” Nolan said.
“We’re sure he’ll be at practice on Saturday because he texted me and said so,” Aiden added.
“The big problem, as I see it, is one we discussed when you told me you were big on picking up Calvin as our second pitcher, and that is transportation.”
“Yeah, we know Clark Pass is way out in the sticks,” Nolan said.
“Pop, do you think if Cal’s parents drove him here, he could ride to the game with us tomorrow?” Aiden asked.
“Son, that goes without saying,” Larry answered. “And if he needs to be picked up at home, I’m willing to drive up to Clark Pass to get him. He needs to feel as much a part of the Goats as possible before you guys head out to California next week. You’re having only one practice before you go and if he can come to the games and feel part of the team, that’s even better.”
“I plan to be at the games and I’ve already had one practice. Plus, I know most of the players on the team. That’s not all true for Cal and like you said, we gotta make him feel like he’s part of the team,” Nolan said.
“Yeah, and an important part,” Aiden added.
“Why don’t you text him and invite him to the game,” Larry said. “Let him know what his transportation options are.”
“If he can go to both games, do you think he can spend the night tomorrow?”
“That sounds like a great idea. Ask him, and if his parents agree he’s in.”
“And don’t worry, he won’t be sleeping with me tomorrow night. Game nights are for getting plenty of sleep, especially since we have a game tomorrow. I’ll be so ready to crash. But, if he can stay Thursday night, that’s a different story. And yes Nolan, as you know my bed can sleep three.”
Larry shook his head. He still had to get used to the open sexuality of Aiden and Nolan—that certainly wasn’t the case when he and Phil were that age, at least not around their parents.
“I’m gonna text Cal and then Nolan and I are gonna go bike riding into town to see who we can hang around with,” Aiden told his dad.
“Have fun. There are sandwiches in the fridge if you want to stop by for lunch,” Larry told the boys.
Aiden and Nolan ended up enjoying lunch with Gordy and Miles at Gordy’s house. After lunch the four boys ended up at Trent’s house and swam in his pool. Aiden and Nolan had packed swimsuits in their bicycle bags just in case. Mac and Scott were at Trent’s house when they arrived; the Goat teammates enjoyed a fun afternoon.
Calvin called Aiden just before four o’clock. Aiden had just finished dressing when his phone rang. He was pleased to see it was Cal. After a bit more than ten minutes of talking they had organized their upcoming days. One of Cal’s parents would drop him off at Aiden’s house the next day in plenty of time to ride with Aiden and Nolan to the game. He would spend the night at Aiden’s house and ride to Thursday’s game (or games) with Aiden and Nolan. One of his parents would pick him up at Aiden’s house after the game.
He would be back to spend Friday night at Aiden’s with Aiden and Nolan, attend the Saturday morning practice, then attend the swimming party at Aiden’s house. As badly as Cal wanted to spend Saturday night, his mother wanted him home that night because of a dinner she was preparing for company and also because he would be leaving for California on Tuesday. She wanted him to spend the last three nights with his family before he left. It was the same reason she wouldn’t give him permission to spend Thursday night with Aiden.
Aiden reported all of this to Nolan and the other Goat players at Trent’s house. They were all excited about getting Cal involved with the team and planned to be at Aiden’s house after Saturday's practice, if their parents approved of course.
<Mac and Trent>
“You guys aren’t going to do it again, are you?” Jackson asked Mac and Trent as they sat on the patio of the Hallion residence.
“It’s part of our pregame routine and we want to do it now and not on Wednesday since we’re playing Wednesday night,” Trent said.
“And what is it to you?” Mac asked.
“I’m just wondering. Are you sure you’re not really gay?”
“And what if we are?” Trent asked. “I can think of worse things. And you don’t mind a romp in bed with a guy.”
“Only because of horniness.”
“Yeah, it’s gotta be tough when your girlfriend splits with you.”
“But it’s also kind of fun playing the field, which will become easier once school starts. In the meantime, I have an always horny brother,” Jackson grinned.
“And tonight, you get to lie in your bed and jerk off since this is a pitcher and catcher thing and has to be done in private.”
“How about after the season ends?”
“You can make it your fantasy when you jerk off tonight,” Mac told him.
“Gotcha. Well, you guys have fun tonight and I’ll invent a wild night for us in the future,” Jackson said.
“What about our big night with us and our girls?” Trent asked. “You need to find one so you can join in.”
“Like you said, let’s wait until after baseball.”
That night Mac did his thing with Trent, topping him hard and deep to remind him that when the first pitch is thrown by Trent, Mac was the one in charge.
Calvin’s mother arrived at three o’clock to drop Cal off at Aiden’s. Aiden dashed out of the house and gave him a big hug. Aiden was dressed in his uniform and ready to go when the time came. Cal shook off the momentary embarrassment of the hug and introduced Aiden to his mother. Aiden then introduced them to Larry, who had just come out of the house.
“Follow me and let me show you the place,” Aiden told Cal. Cal grabbed his overnight bag and followed him up the steps and into the house. At the same time Larry and Cal’s mother, Laura, got involved in a friendly conversation about the upcoming trip.
“Damn, Aiden. You live in a friggen mansion,” Cal said as he ran his left hand through his shaggy blond hair.
“Nah, it’s just where I live.” He told Cal to leave his bag by the stairs, which he did. Aiden then took Cal into the viewing room where they looked out on the lake.
“This is amazing. I mean, I live in a nice house. It’s big enough for the four of us and everything, but this is amazing.” They stepped out on the patio where Cal could look down at the swimming pool. “Holy crap, a pool, too? Your dads must be rich.”
“Well, my pop, Larry, is a teacher and my dad, Phil, is in charge of the county road department, so it’s not like they make a lot of money. But they’re pretty smart with their money and made good investments and they adopted what they call their big tax deduction and, well, we do okay.”
They walked down to the pool and stood on the deck. “I didn’t tell you this on the phone, but I will now. When you hang here after practice on Saturday, we will be having a pool party and pool parties at my house are what’s called clothing optional,” Aiden told Cal.
“That means we can skinny dip if we want?”
“Coolio. Do a lot of guys do that?”
“Everybody does,” Aiden grinned.
“Double coolio. I can’t wait. And is that your boat there at the dock?”
“Yep. And you can go water skiing if you want on Saturday, but you need to bring your swimsuit for that.”
“Gotcha. Is that boat your dads’ big tax deduction?”
“Not even close. They keep saying a boat is a hole in the water you keep pouring money into, but they love it. No, their big tax deduction is me.”
“You?” Cal gasped. “Is that why they adopted you?”
“No, that’s just a joke. I’m sure I cost them more money than they get back, but they love me too,” Aiden grinned. “What did you mean when you said there were four in your family? Do you have a brother or something?”
“I have something. I have a twin sister. Her name is Carla and she’s a pitcher too. She was on the softball team for the school season and now she pitches for Cotter’s Grocery. She’s pretty good.”
“Whoa, she must be the Carla my friend Kalie and her friends talk about. They said she’s the best pitcher in their league this summer and was pretty good on the school team.”
“Yeah, she’s the bomb out there in the pitcher’s circle.”
“Well so are you on the pitchers’ mound.”
“And my dad has a couple of Clark Pass High pitching records. My mom pitched school ball, too. I guess pitching runs in the family,” Cal said proudly.
Aiden continued his tour showing such popular places as the hot tub, the big basement shower, the well-furnished games room, the back room (without telling Cal what often happened behind its closed door at parties), the basketball hoop in the back of the house, and the baseball practice and wiffle ball play area. “Don’t tell me this isn’t, like, some kind of mansion. I’ve never known anybody who lives in a place like this.”
They went back into the house. Cal picked up his bag and went upstairs with Aiden. Aiden showed Cal the guest room where he would be spending the night. He then showed off his own bedroom.
Cal continued to be overwhelmed. “Cripes, you’ve got a balcony, a big king bed, a view of the lake, a television, a computer, and a friggen train in your room.”
“It’s comfortable,” Aiden said modestly.
“Is Nolan going to sleep with you tonight?”
“We have a deal, which our parents kind of made us do when Nolan moved to Mayfield, and it’s that we don’t sleep together on game nights to guarantee we get a full night’s rest.”
“I guess that’s why I’m sleeping in the guest room tonight.”
“Yep, but if you want to sleep with me on Friday night, you get first dibs. But you don’t have to sleep with me, I just wanted you to know you could.”
“But don’t we have practice the next morning?”
“It’s practice, not a game.”
“Good call.”
“Anyway, like I said, you don’t have to do it, practice or no practice.”
“It’s cool. When I have overnights with Todd or Donnie we almost always sleep together, and our beds are way smaller than yours. But what about Nolan? Won’t he be sleeping with you on Friday?”
“He’s got no problem with sleeping with other guys and I’m the same way. Our only rule is we don’t keep it secret.”
Aiden’s phone rang and he checked to see who it was. “Speaking of Nolan, it’s him.” Pause. “Yep, he’s here.” Pause. “Okay, see you in a couple.”
“Okay, we gotta go,” Aiden said as he grabbed his bag. “Nolan’s gonna ride with us. We’re gonna pick him up, then pick up the twins, and then head for Longview.”
“Where are Nolan’s parents?” Cal asked.
“His mom’s at work and his dad is cool with Nolan riding with me to the game. His ‘rents will both be at the game and Nolan will ride home with them.”
“It sounds like you guys have it all planned out.”
“You know it, dude,” Aiden grinned.
Aiden asked Cal to sit in the front seat of the Odyssey and he sat in the middle seat where Nolan soon joined him. “I didn’t know you guys lived so close together,” Cal observed.
“We do and we love it, right dad?”
“We can’t keep them apart,” Larry chuckled.
Aiden introduced Cal to the twins who then sat in the back seats, and they headed off on the hour trip to Longview.
<Longview Sports Complex>         
The big day had arrived. The Monte Bulldogs and the Mayfield Yard Goats would be facing off in Longview on Field 2 of the sports complex used by Longview and some of the Kelso teams. Field 2 had a skin infield and could accommodate the shorter baselines played by that age group. Like Field 1 it had an electronic scoreboard. It also had the same outfield arrangement and the same bleacher capacity. The only difference was that the infield was dirt instead of grass.
Monte was the home team for the first game of the playoff. The second game would be played the next day on Centralia Field 1. Mayfield would be the home team for that game. Should the IF game become necessary, the home team would be decided by a coin flip.
After entering the complex, they saw Skyler and Greg getting prepared to warm up. Aiden and Nolan walked over to greet them. They traded fist bumps and wished each other good luck.
Skyler stopped the two friends as they started to walk to their side of the field. “Hey, when are we going to have an overnight in your digs?” Skyler asked.
“It’s gonna have to be a time between August 15 and when school starts,” Aiden replied. “Let’s keep trading texts. We’ll figure something out.”
That ended the socializing. It was time to get game serious.
Many of the fans for both teams brought their radios with them or had a radio app on their phones. Radio station KCLC, which was operated by Centralia Community College, would be broadcasting all the games of the championship series. Andrew Orson, a communications professor would be the lead announcer. He had six students working under him as announcers and on-the-air production assistants.
Being the visitors, the Goats batted first. Skyler was the starting pitcher and showed right from the first pitch why everyone said he was the biggest stud in the league. He struck out the side on 12 pitches and set the tone for the game. Scott answered Skyler’s challenge with a 1-2-3 inning of his own, but in a different fashion. He retired the side on nine pitches but didn’t strike out anybody. Scott may not have been the stud that Skyler was, but he was a damn fine pitcher, and had a good team behind him.
At the end of the third inning, the game was still scoreless. Skyler had put down the first nine batters, striking out six of them. Scott had allowed a single and walked one.
The Goats went down 1-2-3 in the top of the fourth, leading to some antsy players and coaches in the Goat dugout. Everybody knew Skyler was an outstanding pitcher, but, as Eric put it, “The dude is dealing!” Skyler had retired the first twelve Goat hitters.
Cal was sitting with Nolan in the bleachers. The two Goat pickup pitchers were getting to know each other and were comparing notes on how they felt about pitching for a different team. Cal envied Nolan because he not only knew a lot of the players, but also because his boyfriend was on the team. Cal only had two friends on the team: Aiden and now Nolan. The two had hit it off and became instant friends.
Their anxiety level went up when the Bulldogs started to put together a threat in the bottom of the fourth. Their leadoff hitter doubled, and the next hitter picked up an infield single, putting runners on first and third with no outs and Skyler coming to the plate. Skyler was not only an outstanding pitcher, but he was also a good all-around ballplayer. The runner on first took off for second on a 1-1 pitch. Skyler got hold of that pitch from Scott and hit it up the left field line for a two-run double. The second run scored on a close play at the plate because the runner had been put in motion which gave him a head start. The fourth inning ended with the Bulldogs holding a 2-0 lead.
The Goats picked up their first hit with one out in the fifth when Scott singled up the middle. Cal and Nolan hollered the loudest as the Mayfield fans stood and cheered. Grant, who was the designated runner for the pitcher, entered the game to pinch run. The Goats couldn’t score him as Miles and Mac both struck out.
Scott allowed a two-out single in the bottom of the inning, but that was it. In the top of the sixth, Gordy and Aiden hit back-to-back singles with two outs. Trent brought the Mayfield fans to their feet when he sent a hard-hit ball to center, but the centerfielder made a beautiful over the shoulder catch to take away an extra base hit and retire the side.
Scott threw a 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of the sixth. It was now the top of the seventh and do or die time for the Goats.
Muddy, Scott, and Miles were the scheduled batters. The Goats hoped that Skyler, who had thrown 74 pitches, was tired and they would be able to get to him. The league had raised the pitch limit from 86 to the middle school maximum of 90 for the playoffs, so pitch count would probably not be an issue.
Skyler mowed through the three batters. He struck out Muddy, got Scott to ground out to short, and ended the game by striking out Miles. The Monte Bulldogs had won a hard-fought 2-0 pitcher’s duel. Skyler totally dominated the Yard Goats, striking out 12 and walking none. The Bulldogs played errorless ball. It was a beautifully played game by both teams.
“I hate to say it, but congratulations—you pitched an epic game,” Aiden told Skyler in the handshake line.
“That might be the best game I ever pitched,” Skyler admitted. “I mean you guys have a good hitting team and stopping you like that wasn’t easy or even hard. It was, like, close to impossible.”
The team sat in the bleachers for the post game meeting. Nolan and Cal sat a few rows behind them where they could hear without being intrusive. Coach Hallion went over the game and talked about the schedule for the next day. “You played a great game today,” he told his charges. “Scott went all the way and pretty much shut down a good hitting team. Unfortunately, Skyler did the same to us and we couldn’t put anything together. We got shut out by a good team and a good pitcher.”
“But now we close the door on it and think about tomorrow. Trent will be our starter and I think Shane Wright will be pitching for the Dogs. From what I’ve heard he’s their number two pitcher.”
Aiden raised his hand, and the coach gave him a nod. “You’re right, he is number two. I know from what I heard is that his speed’s a lot like Scott’s, and he can get wild sometimes and if we’re patient we might be able to get some walks. Plus, he’s a lefty.” Young teams were often a bit intimidated by left-handed pitchers since they didn’t see them very often.
“Good, because we sure didn’t get anything from Skyler,” Mac said.
“I’ll announce the lineup at the pregame meeting,” Coach Hallion said. “Be sure to get a good night's rest and eat healthy. Also, the temp will be in the 80’s tomorrow, so make sure you stay hydrated, especially since we might be playing a double header. We will have plenty of water available in the dugout.”
“Coach, we WILL be playing a double header tomorrow,” Mac said. “There’s no doubt about it. Yes, Skyler is a stud, but peeps forget that Trent is one, too.”
The Goats all nodded and mumbled like they almost believed it.
Gordy rose from his seat in the bleachers and calmly said, “And here’s something nobody ever mentions but is something to think about.”
The entire team went silent and looked directly at Gordy, who rarely spoke up in practice. Everyone respected him for being smart, a great baseball player, and one of the nicest guys they knew. When he spoke to the team, it was never about himself—it was always about the team. As a result, when Gordy spoke, everyone listened.
“Our last loss before this one was to Clark Pass in our last league game. Then we played Winton in a loser out game and won. Next was Clark Pass in two loser out games and we won them both. Wednesday, we played the Scrappers in a loser out game and won. Okay, we lost today and I’m not happy about losing. Nobody’s happy about losing.” This was the longest speech anybody could remember Gordy ever giving. Even though they all anticipated the punch line, they waited for Gordy to deliver it. “Tomorrow, we have two loser out games and that’s when the Goats are harder to beat than ever. Now we get to take everything we’ve been doing to win and put it all together.”
After a moment of quiet, Aiden said, “Wow, that was beyond awesome, Gordy. It was like totally epic. We’ll all do it together as a team, and do with our big stud pitching for us,” Aiden said.
The team’s noise level had risen considerably after Gordy’s talk. Riley nudged Lenny and they both shouted, “T-E-A-M. Play hard…,” they shouted in unison. At that point most of their teammates chimed in with them,”…Play smart. Play to win. Have fun!” Everyone stopped except Riley and Lenny who continued by shouting, “Together Everyone Achieves More!”
The entire team cheered, including Max and Rusty who had been quiet until the end. A glare from Mac inspired them to join in.
“I’ll see you all by five tomorrow at Centralia Field 1,” Coach Hallion said over the hubbub.
“We plan on being there ready to kick booty,” Miles said, which was what all his teammates were thinking.
Next: Grand Salami Time
Mayfield Yard Goats vs Monte Bulldogs at Longview Sports Complex Field 2.
  1. Gordy-SS (6)
  2. Aiden-2B (4)
  3. Trent-3B (5)
  4. Muddy-DH Batting for Riley
  5. Scott-P (1)
  6. Miles-LF (7)
  7. Mac-C (2)
  8. Max-1B (3)
  9. Rusty-RF (9)
Riley-CF (8)