Softball is a win-win, despite two loses

Published 9:47 am Thursday, May 25, 2017

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ike almost every kid, I played little league baseball growing up. Now admittedly, my position was generally aloof kid in outfield playing with grass, but for a while at least I enjoyed playing the game.

My dreams of a lucrative professional baseball career came to a quick end in the third grade though with the introduction of kid pitch. I was OK with the pitching machine, but when inaccurate kids started throwing the ball I was done.

I spent the majority of that season standing in the batter’s box in fear waiting to get hit. I knew that it would be the end of my baseball career.

I never completely left the game behind though. Growing up, I spent countless hours in the front yard playing a variety of games with an old bat and a tennis ball (lower chance of breaking windows). I became a Derek Jeter and then a Yankee fan and spent many a weekend taking in Florida State baseball games.

I always dreamed of returning to the game, and three weeks ago I finally got a chance. Upon moving to Vicksburg, I joined the men’s softball team through St. Michael’s Catholic Church.

It would be my first time playing organized baseball/softball since third grade. Needless to say I was a little rusty, but with only two practices in the books, it was time for our first game.

I didn’t know what position I should play at first, but I did know for a fact infield was certainly not the answer. Our first practice we spent some time doing infield drills and lets just say my performance at third base was not gold glove worthy.

Instead, I quickly found my place behind the plate as catcher. Catcher in slow-pitch softball doesn’t require much. My entire job is to pick the ball up and throw it back to the pitcher, a job I haven’t messed up through two games (pauses writing, finds piece of wood, knocks on it). It enabled me to find a spot in the lineup without hurting the team (something I was very in favor of).

I got off to a good start to the season, and two at bats in I had a single, an RBI double and a run scored. I was no longer the rusty player that had been away from the game for years. No, I was Buster Posey. FSU grad, catcher, hitter, if you take away his Golden Spikes award, Rookie of the Year, MVP, two World Series rings, millions of dollars and plentiful baseball talent, we were almost identical.

I came crashing back to earth a little in the second game of the season when I went 0-2 at the plate, even if I did make solid contact both times. That doesn’t matter though. I am just happy to be part of the team. This is the first thing I have gotten involved in since moving to Vicksburg two months, and so far it is a win, despite losing both of our games to start the season.
Brandon O’Connor is a staff writer at The Vicksburg Post. You may reach him at brandon.oconnor@vicksburgpost.com.