Keep Your Eyes on the Ball! Magic Bat Day by Kevin Christofora
IT WAS MONDAY MORNING, AND IT WAS MY SECOND DAY OF BASEBALL PRACTICE.
I WOKE UP BEFORE MY ALARM WENT OFF.
What can get a boy up and dressed faster than a brand-new uniform with a cap that says Hometown All-Stars on the front? At school Nick is proud to walk down the hall and wave at his All-Star teammates as they head for their classrooms in their own matching uniforms.
During reading, it is as if he sees baseballs everywhere he looks. In math class the addition problems remind Nick of a scoreboard. And for lunch there are even hot dogs, just like at the game!
But at practice the real fun begins after their warm-up, when Coach lets the teammates pick out just the right bat for each of them. Nick knows his bat is magic--it has the word BOLT on one side and a streak of lightning on the other! At last the coach takes them out on the field for their very first batting practice.
AT THE PRACTICE AREA, WE ALL GOT OUR OWN HITTING STATION. WE GOT A HELMET, A BATTING TEE, A BUCKET OF BALLS, AND TWO CIRCLES ON THE GROUND
I PUT MY FEET IN THE CIRCLES.
Coach shows them how to grip the bat, lining up the second knuckles on both hands. He even draws a line of black marker down the knuckles so the kids can get the right grip on the end of the bat. He shows Nick how to take a relaxed stance in the batting box, with the bat on his shoulder. And then it's time for Nick to hit the ball waiting quietly on the tee.
"SWING AND A MISS... STRIKE ONE!"
Hey! Where's the magic?
Then Coach does some real baseball magic. With his marker he draws a big, fat BLACK circle on a fresh ball, right between the laces.
"THIS TIME, WHEN YOU SWING, STARE AT THE BLACK DOT AND THEN SLAM IT!"
CRACK! This time Nick meets the ball right on the sweet spot. A tingly feeling runs through his hands as he watches it sail up and over the grassy field.
It's BATTER UP, in Kevin Chistofora's second book in his Hometown All-Starsseries, Magic Bat Day (Hometown All Stars Book 2) (Clarens, 2015). Real-life Coach Christofora takes his young team through the initial tips on hitting, beginning with "Keep your eyes on the ball." As an introduction to playing on a team for a rookie or even as early vicarious experience with the game for the littlest wannabe sluggers, this series hits it out of the park.
Labels: Baseball Stories (Ages 3-6)