Hello Everyone I’m very happy to welcome Fast-Pitch Love by Clay Cormany to IndieWritersReview! (VBTCafe Promotions).
Title: Fast-Pitch Love
Author: Clay Cormany
Length: 325 pages
Publisher: Astraea Press
Release Date: 3 November 2014
Genre: Young Adult
About the Author
Before writing Fast-Pitch Love, Clay Cormany spent over 20 years as a writer and editor for Ohio’s State Board of Education. His creative work has appeared in numerous central Ohio publications, including the Columbus Dispatch and Spring Street, Columbus State Community College’s literary magazine. He has also edited numerous books, including a three-volume biography of Christopher Columbus, written by a member of Italy’s Senate, and A Death Prolonged by Dr. Jeff Gordon, which received coverage in the New York Times and on PBS. Fast-Pitch Love reflects the two years Cormany spent interacting with softball players and coaches both in practice and competition.
Fast-Pitch Love is a coming-of-age story about a high school boy who volunteers to help his mother coach a girls softball team because he believes the “girl of his dreams” will also be an assistant coach for the team. He gets more than a few surprises and eventually discovers that romance depends on more than physical attraction.
Stick pulled out of the parking lot and headed toward the center of town where most of the restaurants and fast food places were. “I saw you scoping out Stephanie during the history final,” he said while they waited on a traffic light. “Man, you’re way out of bounds with her.” “I know,” Jace answered. “But who says I can’t dream?” “I wouldn’t even risk doing that, Slo-Mo. If that gorilla boyfriend of hers ever gets wind of what’s on your mind, your dream could become a nightmare real quick.” “Who’s going to tell him — you?” “Are you kidding? He’s no friend of mine, although he might make a good pet if you could find a big enough cage.” The light turned green, and Stick shot through the intersection. Jace shook his head and frowned. “I just want a chance with her. Just one chance. Maybe something could happen between us. If she’s not interested, okay. That wouldn’t kill me. What’s killing me is that I don’t know and never will as long as –” “Carson’s in the way?” “Exactly.” Stick took a hand off the steering wheel and rubbed his chin as if he were a wise old man with a long beard. “King Kong is a problem,” he admitted. “No doubt about that.” Then a mischievous grin took shape. “But maybe not as much as you think.” “What do you mean?” Jace’s voice betrayed both hope and anxiety. At that moment, Stick pulled into Burger World and stopped in front of the menu board. A large globe with a painted-on face and a chef’s hat asked for their order. Stick glanced at Jace. “Want anything?” “No thanks. I’m not that hungry. Now what did you mean –” “Well, I am. Give me a Global Burger with everything, medium fries, and large vanilla shake.” “That will be four twenty-five,” the talking globe said in its buzz saw-like voice. “Please pull up to the window.” While they waited for Stick’s food, Jace again asked, “What did you mean when you said Carson may not be that much of a problem?” Stick leaned back and put his hands behind his head. “I found out Carson might not be spending much time around Ridgeview this summer,” he said. “Why not?” “He’s got himself a job at a lumber yard up in Michigan. Plus, he’s going to be visiting some colleges that want him to play football for them.” “How long will he be gone?” “I don’t know. But Michigan is pretty far from central Ohio, so if he’s going way up there, he’ll probably stay awhile. A few weeks anyway, wouldn’t you think?” “Yeah, makes sense.” “Long enough for a clever rival to make his move.”
The next practice was tougher. Martha put the girls through running drills, having them sprint around the bases three times at the beginning and twice at the end. In between, she pushed them to sharpen their defensive skills. She taught them how to run-down an opposing player caught between two bases; she urged them to call for balls hit high, so they didn’t collide with a teammate; she organized a “round-the-clock” fielding exercise whereby one girl at a time ran the bases in reverse, stopping at each infield position to handle a batted ball. Jace and Sylvia hit pop-ups, liners, bouncers, and grounders over and over again to the Valkyries while Martha watched and evaluated each player. Most of the girls showed improvement. The one exception was Lauren, who lacked the speed and agility to catch anything not hit straight to her. At one point she slammed her glove on the ground. “It’s hopeless!” she yelled, almost in tears. “I’m a worthless klutz! I’m quitting the team.” She began to stomp toward the bench. “Come on, Lauren!” Martha shouted. “Don’t quit! We need you!” “Why — for a mascot?” Lauren shot back. “No, we need you to play,” Martha continued. “You could be a great hitter. We all saw that last week. You just need more practice in the field.” “Jace, why don’t you grab your glove and go out there with Lauren?” Sylvia suggested. Jace, who had just finished a round of hitting balls, gave her a puzzled look. “What good will that do?” “Just stand next to her and encourage her.” He looked toward his mother, pacing along the first-base foul line. She nodded. Jace ran behind the backstop where his mitt rested on the ground. After putting it on, he had the strange feeling that something soft and gooey was on his fingers. What could it be and how did it get there? No time to think about it. He trotted out next to Lauren as Sylvia prepared to hit the next ball. It went toward Angela in right field, but Jace didn’t see her catch it, because his eyes were riveted on his glove. Something was happening inside of it, something bad. The gooey feeling was still there, but now there was also a feeling of heat that grew more intense by the second. The next ball off Sylvia’s bat went toward center field, but Jace didn’t see that one caught either. He was too busy tearing at his glove, flinging it away, and clawing at his hand, which felt as if it were on fire. He stumbled to his knees. “Arrrrrgh,” he bellowed, as he rubbed his hand back and forth on the grass, trying to remove the slimy substance. “What’s the matter, Jace?” Martha cried out. “Why are you –?” “Success!” shouted Heather. “Sweet revenge!” added Dana. “What do you mean?” said Sylvia, as the two girls jumped up and down with glee. “What did you do to him?” “Nothing much,” said Heather with a grin. “Just put some capsaicin cream in his glove when he wasn’t looking.” “Why?” asked Martha, who seemed more curious than upset. “For nearly killing us with that ball he hit last week. That’s what for,” answered Dana. “Yeah, we figured we’d teach him a lesson,” said Heather. “But that was an accident, girls,” said Martha. “What you did was deliberate.” “He won’t die,” said Heather, pointing at Jace, who continued to rub his hand on the grass. A small circle of girls assembled around him, faces glowing with smirks and hands restraining laughter. Even Lauren seemed to enjoy the spectacle.
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