The Hitting Zone - Chapter 853 - V3 Ch88
Chapter 853 – V3 Ch88
With it starting, I got into hitting mode. I tuned out the others outside the cage. The first pitch came and I slap my bat just on the under part, fouling it back. There was a clear sound of it hitting the back fence.
I did the rest in a similar fashion. When the machine powered down, I stepped back and headed for the gate.
“The fouls were too high, out of reach.” The catcher said.
Surprised, I looked back at him. He had stood up and took his mask off again. Feeling some aggression, I did my best to ignore him and leave the cage.
“He fouled them back.” Noah was quick to come to my defense. “That’s all he had to do. Honestly. You should be thankful that he didn’t aim it at you.”
I quickly shook my head. “That would be mean.” Very painful if you missed and whatnot. I would feel bad if it hit him in his face mask.
Noah threw his arm around my shoulders and pulled me to where Zeke and Jeremy were. “I know. You aren’t the type to intentionally hurt someone. Let’s go get some ice cream and forget this guy now that you’ve successfully kicked him out for others to have a chance.”
With Noah taking the lead, we left Justin and Mr. Williams behind. Inside, Jeremy beat Zeke with his wallet, paying for all of our ice creams. We sat down and casually talked about the recent changes going on.
“When does your season start?” Jeremy asked Zeke.
“Mid-February.” Zeke answered. “You’ll already be reporting to spring training.”
Jeremy scratched his cheek with a small laugh. “Oh. I was thinking about seeing one of your games beforehand. Maybe I’ll catch one during the season.” He looked at me. “If the timing is right, you guys can come stay with me and Rose after the game or something.”
“You AND Rose.” Noah moved his eyebrows up and down. He grinned at me. “Jake, any thoughts on your future sister-in-law?”
“She’s very nice.” I commented.
“Anything else?” Noah poked me.
I shrugged. “What else?”
Noah laughed. “Jake has people divided into two groups: nice and not nice.” He looked at Jeremy. “Yea, we won’t mind watching Zeke and then going to bug you. Maybe a weekend will line up to where we can watch him and then you.”
“It’ll be tough.” Zeke said. “Trying to find a gap between high school, college, and pro baseball is complicated. Not to mention you still have school to worry about.”
Jeremy smiled and lean back. “I may not know much about college baseball, but if I remember correctly, the College World Series is mid June. High school baseball ends in May. We’ll have something to look at there.”
Noah slapped the table. “Make it to Omaha, Zeke. We’ll go watch every game!”
Zeke rolled his eyes, but I could see the faintest of smiles hanging on his lips.
We talked more about our upcoming seasons. Jeremy promised to come to our next tournament, the Tulare Invitational. We would be coming back as last year’s champions so Noah was adamant that we repeat. And who would want to say no to that?
Zeke wouldn’t be there for that one though. He had his own season to prepare for. He seemed absolutely confident in getting in the starting lineup, but playing center field was in question. He also told us that the cleanup spot was secured by Bradley Thompson.
“Oh, I’ve heard about him.” Jeremy acknowledged. “We get a lot of comparisons sometimes in articles and whatnot. He’s only a year younger than me, I believe?”
“Comparisons?” I asked. We didn’t know Jeremy when we had visited Stanford last year so I didn’t really pay attention to his name.
Jeremy rubbed his nose, slightly embarrassed. “Well. Just a few. You know I went pro immediately after high school. We had similar stats and numbers, but the following year, he chose college. They talk about these kind of things all the time. Like, who made the better decisions.”
“You. Clearly.” Noah grinned. “Rookie of the Year. MVP of the World Series and of the season. You’re a walking highlight reel.”
Jeremy laughed and coughed to cover up that laugh. “Everyone has different roads to the same destination. There is no right or wrong.” He glanced at Zeke. “Just do what you want. Trust me. I may have early success, but I still have some regrets.”
The conversation slowed down after that. We knew of some of his regrets. Jeremy wanted to be a professional, there’s no doubt. But he was also guided and pushed by his uncle. He also didn’t pay close attention to what his uncle was doing and what he had done. There was guilt in his voice and I just knew he couldn’t always push past what had happened to me.
“I’ll be going pro after high school.” Noah stated confidently. “It probably won’t be as smooth as you, Jeremy. But I’ll make it.” He looked at me. “Jake will have the easiest time.”
I looked down at my ice cream, feeling a little self-conscious. I didn’t like to think too far into the future.
“Boss!” Noah called out suddenly.
I lifted my head and saw the old man approaching our table. He nodded his head at Jeremy and Zeke, before facing me and Noah. “Thanks for the help out there, boys.”
Noah put his fingers together and gave it a rub, the universal sign of money.
Mr. Williams laughed. “I know. Nothing is free when it comes to Noah.” He gestured back to the snack bar. “I’ll let the guys know in the back to write down your name. 50% off food and snacks for the next month.”
“Tch.” Noah rolled his eyes. “That’s it?”
Zeke glared at him.
Noah sat up straight. “Thanks, Boss.” His eyes almost disappeared from smiling so hard. “Best believe I’ll take advantage of it.”
Mr. Williams laughed. “I have no doubt.” He glanced at me. “That kid was interested in you quite a bit. Don’t be surprised if you see him around when you come in the future. He seemed to settle down a little after I told him about your accomplishments.”
“Accomplishments?” I echoed.
“Batter prodigy.” He winked at me.
I blushed with embarrassment.
“Don’t worry, Jake.” Noah stood up and patted his chest. “If that guy dares to find you for trouble, we can handle it.”
“We?” I repeated. “Shouldn’t we not handle it?”
“You can put him in his place with ease.” Noah stated confidently. I couldn’t tell if I was flatter with his faith in me or terrified that I would have to deal with that catcher in my future visits.
“Mr. Williams.” Zeke spoke up. “I think it’s better if Jake isn’t harassed in the future. Or he’ll no longer want to come.”
I nodded. I came here for peace.
Mr. Williams rubbed his chin thoughtfully. “Very true. I’ll have to talk to that damn brat again.” He sighed. “He’s more troublesome than Noah here.”
“Hey!” Noah shouted.
“Don’t worry.” Mr. Williams told me. “If that kid bothers you, come to me. We’ll ban him if we have to.”
Sounds serious. I glanced at Zeke.
“You attract more business for Mr. Williams.” Zeke said plainly. “He can claim one of the best batters in the county, if not the state, gets his work done here.”
Mr. Williams nodded, then left us alone.. Maybe to go look for that catcher.