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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Confident (07/05/07)

TITLE: One Base at a Time
By Shari Armstrong


“Not a spirit of fear. Not a spirit of fear,” Johnny mumbled under his breath. “I can do this.” He stepped up to the plate, choked up on the bat, swallowed and stared at the pitcher.

The picture sized him up, nodded, wound up and pitched.

The ball whizzed past him, as he stood frozen in place.

“Strike one!”

The catcher tossed the ball back to the mound. “Wimp.”

Johnny ignored the taunt, determined to hit the ball this time.

“Atta boy, Johnny!”

Glancing over his right shoulder, he could just see his grandpa in the stands. He wanted to make him proud. Grandpa had always been his hero, but when he found out that his grandpa had been a minor league baseball star, he was even cooler. He wanted to be as good of a player as his grandpa.

However, one thing stood in the way. The ball. He now had the fear of being hit by the ball, after hearing how Grandpa had lost sight in his one eye after getting hit by a wild pitch.

”Strike two.”

Johnny shook his head and got his mind back in the game. “Keep your eye on the ball,” echoed in his head. He let out a deep breath, and refocused.

The wind up… the pitch… the pain.


The ball nailed Johnny right in the funny bone. He dropped his bat grabbed his arm, just as he heard a voice say, “Batter take your base.”

His first game, his first time at bat and he had to walk. He couldn’t even look at Grandpa.

The next player at bat was the team captain, Charlie, their best hitter. The ball came flying across the plate. Thwap!

Charlie sent the ball flying to the right field. Johnny just stood there for a moment, until he heard someone yell, “Run!”

So he did. He ran. He touched second base and kept going. He got to third, and realized that he might actually make it. As he headed home, the catcher was in front of him, holding the ball out, getting ready to tag Johnny out.

Only one thing to do. Slide.

Johnny dove for home plate, dust flew everywhere, he couldn’t see. He felt the plate just after he felt the ball touch his calf.

“You’re out!”

Standing up, Johnny brushed off the dust and walked back to the dugout, head hanging low. He was the third out. They had lost.

Two arms were soon wrapped around him, “Johnny, you did great!” Grandpa grinned.

“But, I had to walk and then I got out!” Johnny kicked at a pebble. “How did I do great?”

”You have to take it one base at a time, my boy, one base at a time. You’ll get ‘em next time. Let’s go get some ice cream.”

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This article has been read 1159 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Angela M. Baker-Bridge07/12/07
Good advice!
Jan Ackerson 07/12/07
Glad you didn't go the predictable "he hit it out of the park" route. This was refreshingly honest.

I think you meant "pitcher" toward the beginning, and there were a few comma faults, but those are minor.

You really had me rooting for this little fella!
Dee Yoder 07/12/07
There's a good message in this story about gaining confidence with each small step we take toward our goals. Your main character had me rooting for him and the grandfather is the perfect picture of love and encouragement.
terri tiffany07/13/07
Good story to send in to a SS take home paper for children! :) This moved along nicely and kept me interested. Good work!
Marilyn Schnepp 07/14/07
Go Johnny Go! You had us pulling for him all the way! Great story, good job! ("pitcher" tripped me up a bit...but it's only minor league, right?) Kudos!
Janice Cartwright07/16/07
Excellent message about how to build confidence in our children. And God is even more patient and loving with His!
dub W07/17/07
A couple of glitches but a pleasant story without the predictable rhetoric.
Joanne Sher 07/17/07
Enjoyed this - loved the interaction between the grandpa and the boy.
Kristen Hester07/17/07
I could just picture cute little Johnny! It was refreshing that he got tagged out. Very honest. I was glad that Grandpa was positive. This will build confidence in a child. Very nice.
Rita Garcia07/18/07
Your great characterization really gave life to this story, and I love the message!
Sara Harricharan 07/18/07
A cute story! I like Granpa's last line at the end with taking it once base at a time. Nice job!
Verna Cole Mitchell 07/18/07
This is a great "grandpa" story. One step at a time--just the right message for confidence.
Loren T. Lowery07/18/07
I liked the fact that he played through his pain and doubt. Great lesson story and well-told!
Jacquelyn Horne07/18/07
This would be good for young boys to read. What a grandpa!
Patty Wysong07/18/07
Good one! Great job capturing Johnny--I loved his muttering to himself at the beginning, that's a great line to tuck away! :D
Brenda Welc07/18/07
This was an awesome story, I could feel every bit of it! Great writing.
Ed VanDeMark07/18/07
This is a good story for young boys. I struck out fewer times after I lost my fear of striking out. Being afraid you'll look stupid or klutzy destroys many potentially good players both on the ball diamond and in all endeavors of life. Learn from your mistakes and move forward. One base at a time is excellent advice. A little more familiarity with the casual language of the game would improve your story. Now forget I said something a little bit critical and write another baseball story. You've got great potential.