Five innings, 84 pitches, six strikeouts, three hits, 1.80 WHIP (whatever that is), three runs. The Tigers won their second game of a trying season, 11-7.
“Miles, you pitched a gem,” Coach Chris said. “A gem.”
Miles, hat askew, dirt caked on his hands, smiled. A long, tired, satisfied smile.
After a rough season last year, Miles and I tepidly went into this season, hoping our coach didn’t get kicked out of any games, hoping our coaches took a more positive, upbeat, conscientious approach to mentoring a band of 10–12-year-olds looking for direction, fun and success (not necessarily in that order).
Coach Chris and Coach Dane took Miles aside a few times since a couple of erratic pitching performances earlier in the season. “Pull the taffy…step and throw…simplify…release point…finish it off…Watch your foot fall…”
What a difference. They gave him a couple of things to work on, encouraged him with kindness and confidence and changed his life, or at least, one evening at Haske Field in Purcellville, Va.
To all the coaches out there who have dedicated their time and effort in a positive manner and have made a positive difference, thank you.