If You Only Had One Shot

It is finally the moment you have been waiting for all season. The entire dugout is fixated on your every move to see if you can pull off this miracle. You dig into the batter’s box and stare down the pitcher while every single one of your brain cells is focused on one thing: hitting the beautifully white pearl baseball a country mile.

As the pitcher starts his wind up your eyes grow bigger as each ounce of sweat trickles down your face while you think, “I’ve been waiting for this my whole career….”

One defining moment can make or break one’s college career. I can only hope this past weekend was not my defying moment, but I think it’s worth sharing anyways. Although my pressure packed situation during the fourth game of a four game weekend had me feeling all the nerve racking thoughts I’ve mentioned above; there is one major difference between the average position player and myself. I’m a pitcher.

Leisure time on the St. Cloud State pitching staff is usually dominated by one main topic: what we would do if we finally got an at bat in a game. Trash talking is common as well as the critiquing of swings that really aren’t worthy of such assessments.

This past weekend I was given the opportunity to silence the critics and take one deep. The odds were forever not in my favor as my homerun history consists of one “duck fart” over a shallow right field fence in high school (time to close the year book).

Last weekend the Huskies took a comfortable lead over our opponents and as many seniors do, I began to plead head coach Pat Dolan for me to get an at bat. He gave me the nod along with a smirk that a five year old could have detected meant, “I can’t wait to see this.”

During the very rare occasion our pitchers get to hit during batting practice each swing is a piece of artwork. Well, the swing isn’t exactly the artwork. The artwork is what comes after the swing, commonly referred to as, “the pimp job.” For those of you who do not recognize the term “pimp job,” it is the over blown, proud reaction of a hitter after he hits a homerun that he would like to admire.

As a realist, I decided I probably wasn’t going to take one deep in an actual game. But, it was not out of the realm of possibilities for me to blast one to the warning track. I stared down that 2-1 fastball right down Broadway and did what every great homerun hitter does: I dropped my back shoulder, closed my eyes, and swung the bat so hard it would make my dad’s back ache.

Before I knew it, the ball was half way to the moon… if the wind weren’t howling in from right field at a GUSTING 5 mph. After months of mental preparation for my big chance at the plate, I had to settle for a pedestrian F-9 and face my fellow pitchers who looked at me with utter disappointment.

Quite possibly my last at bat as a collegiate player… and I blew it. For two months the pitchers on our staff debated on who would be the pitcher to get the first hit of the season and it would have been my Disney Land fairy tale if it would’ve been me.

So, the coveted award of the first pitcher to get a hit is still in tact at St. Cloud State. Until one of us finally comes through with a clean hit, trash talking will keep on and “pimp jobs” will continue to be rehearsed.

- Scott Sanderson