sport balls 1Title: Pitch and Swing
Author: Tami Haaland
Category: Poetry

Tonight we play the undefeated team, mostly little guys. Base hitters and one 
slamaroo kid. First inning one of our players hits a homerun and catches two flies. The whole team is hot, then confused in the middle innings when a new pitcher tricks the batters with his changeup.

The last few plays are slow motion. We’re up by one but a good hit can alter everything. I can’t help but think what it feels like on the other team, to be twelve years old at bat, two out already, two strikes and the next pitch coming in. Poor kid, he’ll feel like it was his fault. And then he thwacks it, nice line drive to center field. He smiles, and our team has to start over, more risk because the kid on second could make it in. Next kid, two strikes, and I feel sorry again.

Coach says that’s the best thing about baseball. You lose and you win. The batter digs 
his back foot into powder, ready to spring. The umpire and catcher become concentric, the infield players crouch toward the plate. It depends, now, on the pitch. It depends on the swing, and now the pitcher nods to the catcher, digs his toe in.

Tami Haaland is the editor of Stone's Throw Magazine. Her work has recently appeared in New Poets of the American West, Letters to the World, Red-Headed Stepchild and High Desert Journal. She is the author of one volume of poetry, Breath in Every Room.