I'll be ready

Originally published in the 1972 pamphlet titled "A Proving Ground"

Bill sat on the far end of the bench. His shoulders hunched forward. He stared at the ground and began scraping his spikes in the loose dirt. The slim teen-ager had a pitcher's toeplate on one shoe. But, except for throwing some batting practice once in a while, he never pitched.

He also had a catcher's mitt, a beautiful, big golden job that still had the smell of new leather. But Bill had never gotten to use it in a high school game. Oh, he'd warm up the pitcher once in a while between innings, if the regular catcher was slow in getting his pads on. And he had taken his turn behind the plate catching batting practice, too. But that was the extent of it.

The hole he was scratching with his cleated toe was getting bigger now. Finally, he tramped the dirt back into place, leaned back on the bench, and tried to muffle a big yawn. It was the fifth inning.

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