Abigail Paik - Chapter 7

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  • "Giant" John McNab
  • The Red Sox had won, but the big story was John McNab, who struck out sixteen batters to set a new Two Mills L.L. record.  McNab was a giant. He stood five feet eight and was said to weigh over a hundred and seventy pounds. He had to bring his birth certificate in to the League director to prove he was only twelve.
  • McNab fired. The kid swung. The batters in line automatically turned their eyes to the backstop, where the ball should be—but it wasn't there. It was in the air, riding on a beeline right out to McNab's head, the same line it came on, only faster. McNab froze, then flinched, just in time.  The ball missed his head but nipped the bill of his hat and sent it spinning like a saucer out to shortstop. The ball landed in the second-base dust and rolled all the way to the fence in center field. Dead silence. Nobody moved.
  • He wound up, fired, the ball headed for plate, and—what's this?—a legball?—it's got legs—long legs pinwheeling towards the plate. It wasn't a ball at all, it was a frog, and McNab was on the ground cackling away, and the kid was bug-eyed. He'd never—nobody'd ever—tried to hit a fastfrog before.  So what did the kid do? He bunted it. 
  • The kid was trying for an inside-the-park home-run bunt—the rarest feat in baseball, something that had hardly ever been done with a ball, and never with a frog—and to be the pitcher who let such a thing happen—well, McNab could already feel his strikeout record fading to a mere grain in the sandlot of history.
  • Only one hope now—McNab had to grab the frog and tag the runner out. But now the frog shot through his legs, over to the mound, and down toward shortstop and down toward second, and McNab was lurching and lunging, throwing his hat at the frog, throwing his glove, and everybody was screaming, and the kid was surrounding third and digging for home, and —unbefroggable!—the "ball" was heading back home too!
  • The ball, the batter, the pitcher all racing for home plate, and it was the batter, the new kid out of nowhere, who crossed the plate first, at the same time scooping up his book, twirling his borrowed red cap back to the cheering others, and jogging on past the empty stands and up the hill to the boulevard; McNab gasping, croaking after him: "Don't stop till yer outta town, runt! Don't let me ever catch ya!"
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