Local Event Sports Association

Bottom of the ninth and two outs. There was a runner on first and a ghost runner on third, and Moose, the neighborhood meathead and opposing team's best hitter, was at the plate.

Filthy, drenched in sweat, and a tightly wound bundle of nerves, I stood on the mound (which was actually just a chalk line drawn on the ground)—the loneliest kid on earth.

All the catcalls of "Heeyyyy batta batta batta" or "pitcher's got a rubber arm!" had coalesced into a deafening cacophony of white noise, yet I could distinctly hear the rhythmic "thump, thump, thump" of my heart as I stalled the inevitable, wiping my clammy hands on the front of my shorts.

Moose (real name escapes me) was the biggest kid in the neighborhood. No one believed he was only 10 years old, and my friends and I often joked that his dad must have been a Sasquatch. He clearly had the small brain and massive fists to make this theory plausible. However, if there was anything he could do well, aside from hand out random beatings, it was hit a fastball.

I thought long and hard about this very fact as Moose sneered at me from the plate. Maybe if I just tossed him a grapefruit and let him a...

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