It was 1980 something. The team was The Evergreen. Their shirts were bright orange.
It was the seventh inning. The Evergreen had the lead by one run. Bases loaded. Coach Kenny called a time out. The infielders answered his signal to circle up. Slowing the game, gaining control, he set the vision for what could happen.
If it was a grounder to the infield, simply make the play to home. Kenny turned to the catcher, “Toss the mask if it’s coming to you.” The five of us nodded in agreement. We shared his vision.
Tension, anticipation, excitement all swirled in the air.
We returned to our respective positions and made ourselves ready.
First pitch, strike. Second pitch, swing and a miss. Third pitch, hit.
The infielders sprinted to the rolling ball. It was heading straight for the pitcher. She crouched, glove to the ground, and rushed forward. The catcher crouched and rushed towards the pitcher.
10 feet separated the pitcher and the catcher.
Kenny’s vision was playing itself out before his very eyes. The runners were advancing. The pitcher drew her arm back over her shoulder. “Toss the mask!” Kenny yelled. The catcher reached up grabbed her glove, and threw it to the ground. She stood on home plate, mask on, hands at the ready.
The pitcher switched her throw to underhand and lobbed it right to the catcher.
It wasn’t exactly Kenny’s vision,
I made that catch at home plate, although it wasn’t exactly Kenny’s vision, that runner was O-U-T, and Kenny was proud of The Evergreen in orange shirts.
Kenny passed away last week. He gave his all to our little town. He was good friend to my Mom and Dad and he was the best softball coach. Here’s to you, Kenny.