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One Last Shot – Season 3, Post 3: Back To Earth

by Paul Semendinger

March 24, 2021

***

I missed our first team practice due to a conflict, but I was there for the team’s second practice. I was eager to try some live pitching – to see how my off-season training paid off and how my new curve ball was biting. Rather than just throwing batting practice (which I also did), I wanted to face some batters, with a catcher, and actually pitch. Really pitch. Pitch like, “Hey, I plan to strikeout you out.”

And that’s what we did.

I threw about 50 “game-type” pitches combined to a combined four different batters and was, honestly, underwhelmed.

The fastball didn’t have the zip I wanted (one did, but one isn’t nearly enough) and the curveball didn’t break much, at all (one did, but again, that’s not nearly enough).

I wanted to dominate and I just didn’t.

It was just a practice but I found that I’m not where I want to be.

Maybe I left my best stuff in the bullpen…

***

Last weekend was the first weekend of spring and in Northern New Jersey spring did just that…spring sprung. The days were gorgeous – sunny, warm, and beautiful.

The best.

On Saturday, the day before our practice, I met my friend Michael and we went to a local field so I could throw outside on a mound for the first time since last autumn.

Again, I wasn’t great, but I was a lot better than when I faced my teammates the next day.

I probably threw 80 or so pitches to Michael. He’s a good coach and he gave me lots of pointers and great advice. He’s also very encouraging and he built me up.

On Saturday the fastball had a little more zip and the curve ball curved more often than not.

I felt real good after that.

Maybe my arm the next day was just tired.

***

My goal this coming season is to pitch well. I don’t just want to get by, I am hoping to actually make the team glad that I am there on the mound. I want them to wake up on Sunday mornings and think, “We’ve got Doc on the mound, we have a real shot.”

I want to inspire that kind of confidence in them.

I really believe I can do this. I my life, though, I never have. In Little League, I didn’t pitch much. The one year of high school ball when I pitched (Junior Varsity), I lost more often than I won.

I’m hoping that as a grown man of 52 (soon to be 53) that I can put it all together this year.

I still have time.

I’m exercising like crazy. I’m in the best shape I’ve been in in many years – maybe a decade or more. I feel strong and fit and able.

Now I just have to throw the ball to the necessary spots when it counts and maybe, just maybe, as a pitcher, I’ll be a winner.

I’m taking nothing for granted. I have to pitch well this year or I’ll be relegated to mop-up-man.

This is my shot.

It might really be my last shot…

***

Previous Season 3 Posts:

One Last Shot – Season 3, Post 1: This Time It’s For Real

One Last Shot – Season 3, Post 2: My Spring Training

Previous Season Posts:

Season One – The Complete First Season

Season Two – The Complete Second Season

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