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Authors: Gene Fehler

Beanball

BOOK: Beanball
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Table of Contents

Title Page

Table of Contents

Copyright

Dedication

The Voices

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

Part Five

About the Author

 

 

Copyright © 2008 by Gene Fehler

 

All rights reserved. Originally published in hardcover in the United States by Clarion Books, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, 2008.

 

For information about permission to reproduce selections from this book, write to Permissions, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, 215 Park Avenue South, New York, New York 10003.

 

www.hmhco.com

 

The Library of Congress has cataloged the print edition as follows:

Fehler, Gene, 1940–

Beanball / by Gene Fehler.

p. cm.

Summary: Relates, from diverse points of view, events surrounding the critical injury of a popular and talented high school athlete, Luke “Wizard” Wallace, when he is hit in the face by a fastball.

[1. Baseball—Fiction. 2. Sports injuries—Fiction. 3. Interpersonal relations—Fiction. 4. High schools—Fiction. 5. Schools—Fiction.] I. Title.

PZ7.F3318Bea 2008

[Fic]—dc22 2007013058

 

ISBN: 978-0-618-84348-0 hardcover

ISBN: 978-0-547-55001-5 paperback

 

eISBN 978-0-547-53400-8
v2.0614

 

 

 

 

For
Polly,
Andy & Kellie,
Tim & Jacquelyn,
Mireille & Gabrielle,
with love

 

 

Special thanks to
Marcia Leonard
Dinah Stevenson
Caryn Wiseman

The Voices

Oak Grove baseball team

Luke “Wizard” Wallace, center fielder

Andy Keller, backup infielder

Paul Gettys, pitcher

Daryl Hucklebee, coach

Gordie Anderson, outfielder

Craig Foltz, second baseman

 

Compton baseball team

Red Bradington, coach

Kyle Dawkins, pitcher

Dalton Overmire, shortstop

Pete Preston, catcher

 

Oak Grove High School

Melody Mercer, student

Janice Trucelli, English teacher

Sarah Edgerton, student

Elaine Cotter, substitute teacher

Victor Sanderson, history teacher

Lisalette Dobbs, student

 

The Wallace family

Michelle Wallace, Luke's mother

Larry Wallace, Luke's father

Randy Wallace, Luke's grandfather

Elizabeth Wallace, Luke's grandmother

 

At the hospital

Dr. Wesley Hunter, ophthalmologist

Alice Gooding, nurse

 

Others

Tim Burchard, umpire

Clarissa Keller, Andy's sister

Roland Zachary, baseball scout

Sally Anderson, nurse (and Gordie's mother)

Willard Kominski, baseball fan

Nancy Keller, Andy and Clarissa's mother

 

 

 

 

Part One

Luke “Wizard” Wallace and Andy Keller

“This is our year, Andy. I'm sure of it.

I had this dream last night.”

 

“Okay, Wizard. Let's hear it.”

 

“I dreamed it was Awards Night.

Coach Hucklebee was holding up a big trophy: State champs.

There were two little statues on top.

One was you and one was me. Co-MVPs.”

 

“Hey, that must mean Coach picked me to start at third base.”

 

“Sure. Why else would I have dreamed it?”

 

“I hope you're right.

Wait'll you hear about
my
dream.

I dreamed I was making out with Lisalette Dobbs.”

 

“You and Lisalette?
Only
in your dreams.”

 

“I know she's out of my league, but . . .”

 

“I'll say this, pal: The chances of you starting at third

and of us winning State are better than the chances

of you making out with Lisalette Dobbs.”

 

“You think?”

Clarissa Keller, Andy's sister

I saw a shooting star last night.

If you see one,

you're supposed to make a wish.

So I did.

 

I wished that Luke and Andy would stay best friends

forever and ever.

Or at least until I'm in high school.

That would mean Luke will keep coming to our house.

 

I know an eleventh grader would never have

a sixth grader for a girlfriend.

I'm not dumb.

But maybe someday he'll look at me

and not just see somebody's little sister.

 

I hope Andy and Luke stay friends till then.

Luke “Wizard” Wallace, Oak Grove center fielder

What I love most about football

is when I jump up between two defenders

and feel the ball slap against my hands and stay there;

then I break a tackle and know that nobody can catch me.

 

In basketball, it's when I'm on my game,

and I know, just know,

that when the ball spins off my fingertips,

it'll hit nothing but net.

 

Baseball—that's the best of all.

I'm in center field, a sea of green all around me.

I see the batter swing,

and I know that if the ball is hit anywhere near me,

I'll make the catch.

 

I read a book about an old-time ballplayer,

Shoeless Joe Jackson.

He was such a great fielder, people called his glove

“the place where triples go to die.”

Standing out in center field, I think, “That's me, too.”

Nobody can ever take that feeling away.

Andy Keller, Oak Grove backup infielder

Sure I'm disappointed. Who wouldn't be?

I thought I'd be the starting third baseman.

Luke thought so, too.

But with just a few days to go before our first game,

Coach came up with this brainstorm:

Move Ricky from right field to third.

 

Coach figures he'll get more batting punch

if he puts Ricky at third and Julio in right,

but I think I'm as strong a hitter as either of them.

Coach has given me a fair shot;

I'm not saying he hasn't.

It's just that I haven't hit as well as I know I can.

Luke thinks I'm trying too hard,

putting too much pressure on myself.

He says I should keep my head up, that I'll get my chance.

 

I hope he's right.

Paul Gettys, Oak Grove pitcher

Coach has a saying: “You can't go undefeated

unless you win the first one.”

I owe this win to the Wizard.

I wasn't sharp. Gave up six runs.

Didn't deserve to win.

 

It was in the low forties today.
Brrr.

I like it hot.

Sweat dripping down.

My right arm as loose as an old sock.

 

I'd never let Coach hear me blame the cold, though.

Shoot, Coach hates excuses.

He says, “An excuse is a crutch for losers”

and “An excuse is like trying to patch

an amputated arm with a Band-Aid.”

Hucklebee's a great coach,

even if he does go overboard with his cornball sayings.

 

Anyway, I just wasn't getting my pitches where I wanted them.

That's the whole thing.

Lucky for me, our offense pounded the ball.

Got me seven runs to work with.

 

Last ups, they loaded the bases with two outs.

Then a guy I should have been able to strike out

blooped one into short center.

It was a sure hit. No human could get to it.

But the Wizard—Luke Wallace—came out of nowhere

and made a sliding catch

to save the game.

 

I didn't deserve the win, but I'll take it.

My team came through for me.

Andy Keller, Oak Grove backup infielder

I'll take credit for Luke's nickname:

The Wizard.

Oh, yeah.

I started calling him that

'cause he's a wizard with the mitt.

I've known him since fifth grade,

and the times I've seen him drop a ball,

even in practice,

I could count on one hand.

Hey, I'd even have a few fingers left over.

He can outrun any fly ball,

and once he gets to it, it sticks to his glove

like a piece of fuzz to a sweater.

 

I bet there aren't many big leaguers

who can play the outfield better.

Luke “Wizard” Wallace, Oak Grove center fielder

I feel bad for Andy.

He was counting on starting,

which didn't happen,

and then he only got in for an inning

in our first game.

But he's a good ballplayer,

and this will just make him more determined.

Hell break into the starting lineup yet.

Coach is fair. He likes guys who hustle,

and nobody hustles more than Andy.

What he lacks in raw talent,

he makes up for in desire.

 

We've been best friends for years,

practiced together thousands of hours—

baseball, football, basketball.

The thing about him that amazes me:

I know he thinks it all comes so easy for me,

but he's never acted jealous,

not even once.

Melody Mercer, Oak Grove student

I'm going to have to decide—

who to go to prom with, I mean.

I expect at least three guys will ask me.

It's a pain, having to decide,

but I guess my problem isn't the worst one a girl can have.

I know some girls who won't get asked at all.

 

I don't know why anybody would want

to go steady with one boy.

High school is too early to get tied down.

Look at my mom.

She dated the same guy all through high school.

She was married at nineteen

and divorced before she was thirty.

I want to make sure I pick the right guy—

if
I ever decide to get married.

 

I wouldn't mind going to prom with Luke.

He's the guy I've been going out with the most.

He's fun. And he likes me a lot.

I just don't know if I want to get too serious

with one of the school's biggest jocks.

That's what Mom did, and look how she ended up.

Sports were more important to Dad than Mom was.

Or me, even.

 

I like dating Brett. His parents are rich,

so he has plenty of money to spend on me.

I think Derek would be the best date, though.

He's absolutely gorgeous—the hottest guy in school.

He should be prom king, for sure,

and I have a good chance to be queen.

Wouldn't that make some photo?

Derek and me, all dressed up, looking beautiful together?

Janice Trucelli, Oak Grove English teacher

Luke Wallace isn't one of my top students,

only one of my favorites.

Not that I'd ever say that in public, of course.

 

I know he's capable of doing A work,

but it's pretty obvious he waits until the last minute

to write his essays and doesn't leave himself time

to do any revising or proofreading.

 

Oh, he exasperates me!

To him, the difference between an A and a B- or even a C+

BOOK: Beanball
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ads

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