Children’s Serial: “Switch Hitters,” an Excerpt

A serial for teen readers

CHAPTER ONE

It was 11-year-old Larry Little’s turn to bat, which meant practice was almost over. Larry was always the last up for batting practice, because he was just an afterthought on the Bobcats’ team.

Batters usually get 10 hits, run the bases, and the next player comes to bat. But manager Avery Weaver already had thrown Larry 20 pitches, and aluminum had yet to touch ball. Everything about his swing was wrong. The players in the field were getting restless.

Mr. Weaver told Larry to run the first time he made contact. The manager moved up from the mound about 10 feet closer and softly lobbed a ball underhanded. Larry, being new to the game, didn’t realize how humiliating that looked to the other players.

Larry’s next swing felt different. He took two steps toward the ball, pivoted on the wrong foot, spun all the way around, and felt … a thud. Contact! He was off and running, or, more accurately, waddling around the bases. Larry was short for his age and carried much more weight than the other kids, and they didn’t let him forget it. But he never let it bother him. Not even David Dimond’s comment as he rounded second – “Hey, how did a guy as fat as you get a name like Little?”

Larry was oblivious to bullying. He was grinning from ear to ear when he finally reached home plate. Michelle Ramirez was standing there with the mask over her face, tossing the ball in and out of her catcher’s mitt. She had a superior look on her face. “You didn’t hit the ball, you hit my glove, you big oaf!” she snapped. “You’re out!”

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