The sweat pours down their faces. The crowd watches in anticipation as Titan baseball player number 7 prepares himself for what is to come; preparing himself to get ready to run. Squaring his feet with his shoulders on the home plate, he brings his bat up to his ear and waits, and waits, and waits. The pitcher has pitched, and the batter bats. He sprints to first base!
At 1:00 p.m. on a Friday afternoon of the 27th of September, people gathered at Baseball City at Walter Fuller Park in St. Petersburg, Florida. The sun shone ferociously as people lined up to buy their $5 admission tickets at the white fold up table and then made their way down to the end field. Mothers, fathers and friends all assembled on the hot shimmering silver bleachers to show support for teams from Polk to Pinellas County, and most importantly, our SPC Titans Baseball team. Along the chain link fence, people sat up their chairs and umbrellas as the Titans paced and tapped their feet anxiously in the shady dugout while psyching themselves up as the Hawks practice their pitching.
Minutes before the game, the people were chattering and speaking about chances of victory for the Titans. A fellow baseball follower showing support for her son cheerfully stated, “It’s too early to tell, but I’m pretty confident my son and his team can win this game.”
The jibber-jabber persisted and then slowly died down seconds before the game began. It was go time! The Hawks were on defense when the Titan batter confidently strutted to home plate. The excitement and nervousness could be seen in the way he kicked the dust and tapped his bat on the clay. The batter and the pitcher took their places and stared each other in the eyes; the tension between them could be felt by the onlookers who were trying to anticipate every potential strike or homerun. In that moment, the Hawks pitched but our Titan missed. It was the first strike. He pitched again and the batter hit a foul. Once more, the opposition swung his arm with the force of a bull in a china shop. The crowd watched as the ball soared through the air towards the batter. Their eyes followed its path intensely, and for a split second, everything was put into slow motion as it approached more closely to number 7. At last, our Titan hit the ball and it ascended to the clouds. The Hawks ran frantically while holding up their gloves in an attempt counteract any victory for the opposition, the ball fell to the ground, and our Titan sprinted to first base leaving a dust trail behind him.
The hours were now passing quickly as the teams switched from offense to defense and defense to offense. “What’s the score?” a man with wearing a blue t-shirt and black cap shouted from the bleachers.
“Titans winning 1-0,” a young woman shouted back from the dugout while holding a clipboard with the score sheets. The crowd perked up. SPC Titans were in the lead.
Around 2:00 p.m. the crowd chatter had started up again when Titans switched back to offense and began batting. Moments after the sound of the ball could be heard colliding with the bat, the crowd shouted, “Heads up! Heads up! Heads up!” People covered their heads as the ball emerged over the rusting chain link fence like a comet and landed next to, and fortunately missed, an excited onlooker standing by the bleachers by several inches.
The afternoon continued to roll along when the game went into the final inning. Paula, a woman supporting her son who played for the opposite team watched attentively from behind the fence. She was admiring both the tenacity and determination of the Hawks and the SPC Titans. “The fall season don’t really matter too much, this is more just a time for the boys to get out and have some fun. But it’s also like a tryout season for the Spring, so the pressure’s on them when it comes to the scouts,” Paula stated. Around 3:00 p.m., with the crowd supporting, coaches coaching, players running across the field, and scouts spectating the game play of the aspiring baseball players, the game at last reach an end. After hours of sweat, nerves, comradery, and friendly competition, the exuberant crowds celebrated the victory of our Titans with a score of 3-2.
With orange clay covering their attire, they formed a line while fist-bumping each as if to other to say, “good game.” When all was at last said and done, the players dispersed without any foul tempers. The people then stood up from the bleachers while the young girls batted their eyes, and our SPC Titans ambled jovially off into the distance, arms around each other without showing any care as if to whether or not a scout would pitch them any opportunities. They were simply savoring the sweet moment of victory until the next time they would do it all over again.