Mayfield Magic

Chapter 21-The Festival

<Carlsbad Resort>
Larry groaned when his phone alarm went off. He had set it for seven, which was later than he woke up during the school year, but it somehow seemed hours earlier. He had no doubt that sitting up talking baseball with James and Eric until after midnight was the major reason seven o’clock felt so early. As he rose from his bed, he looked at the unslept-in half of the king. Phil was scheduled to arrive Thursday afternoon and Larry was looking forward to seeing his husband.
After showering, shaving, and dressing, he checked his phone for text messages and saw he had two. One was from Robert Perez, the tournament committee chairman, and the other was from Phil. Phil’s message received priority. It consisted of two words: “Call Me”. That didn’t sound at all encouraging to Larry. He checked the time and figured Phil was either already at work or in his truck on the way to work. Either way, it was likely he was available to answer the phone, so he called Phil.
Phil was in his truck on Highway 12. He pushed the phone answering icon on his steering wheel engaging the Bluetooth as soon as he heard the phone sound over the truck’s speakers.
“Good morning, Larry,” Phil said.
“Good morning, studly, and thanks for not waking me up with whatever your urgent message is,” Larry said.
“I needed to talk to you right away, but not urgently. I figured after your busy day yesterday extra sleep was part of your game plan.”
“I set my alarm for seven.”
“You always have been a glutton for punishment. What I called about is we’re having some soil issues with the expansion of County Road 51. It’s near the bridge of the Chehalis River. It should be an easy fix, but it’s something Lewis has no experience with.” Lewis Carlson was the assistant county road supervisor and was relatively new to the job. He was also Marty’s father. “I want to work with him today and tomorrow on getting the fix started so he can take charge on Friday. I’ll be taking tomorrow’s eight p.m flight to Orange County.”
“Well, you’ll still be here on Thursday, then, just later.”
“Yep. Sorry to miss the opening day, but it is what it is.”
“Text me the details and I’ll have somebody drive the van to the airport to pick you up.”
“Sounds good,” Phil said. “And, how about I don’t do any coaching. I’ll be a happy spectator and willing to do consultations or even some scouting. For a reasonable fee of course.”
“Of course. We’ll keep in contact, and I’ll see you sometime tomorrow night.”
“I’ll be looking forward to it. I love you.”
“I love you too, you big stud,” Larry said before disconnecting. Larry wasn’t concerned about Phil not wanting to coach. Phil had said that he felt the coaching should be left up to those who’ve been actively involved with the team, which hadn’t been the case with him, mainly because he had his own team to coach. He knew that Phil had made his comment about not coaching as a point of emphasis, not as something that was new.
Besides, teams were allowed only the head coach and two assistant coaches on the field during a game. That meant the same coaches from start to finish, so if a team had more than three coaches they couldn’t switch off from inning to inning. Since Kevin was due in that evening, Larry figured he would be sitting in the stands with his husband once Kevin was ready to take over his responsibilities. Larry would maintain his role as business manager and planned to add some scouting to his duties, as long as it didn’t interfere with his watching the Goats play.
Only four players had arrived in the banquet room by eight o’clock and were all from the Surrey Mounties. Larry and one of the assistants from the Tucson team were the only coaches to come in early. The coaches introduced themselves and sat together; the Tucson coach was Gary Patnode, who was the pitching coach as well as first base coach for the Arizona team.
“Leave it to the Canadians to have the early bird players,” Gary chuckled. “They’ll take over the world if we don’t watch our backs.”
“I think we’re safe,” Larry said. “We’re only seeing four of seventeen players.”
“Which is an infinite number more than the other three teams have in this palatial room.”
“Good point.”
The conversation stopped when three more Mounties arrived. Larry recognized them as the two players Aiden, Gordy, Nolan, and Mason had befriended: Tommy and Warren, along with the Australian boy, whose name he had forgotten.
“I rest my case,” Gary grinned as two of the Mounty coaches entered the banquet room along with James Hallion. The trio joined Larry and Gary and introductions were made.
The next set of boys to arrive were Trent, Mac, and Muddy, who were roommates. They greeted the coaches and sat in the Goats’ section.
“Those are some big boys. I hope this place stocks enough food to feed them,” Shelby Malone, the Mounty head coach said of the three Goats.
“Oh, I’m sure they’ve done this before and have a good idea how much a resort full of young adolescents can scarf down,” James said.
“They haven’t met my team yet,” Gary grinned.
“As Shelby, who we played in the Federal Way tournament knows, a large number of my players aren’t even average in size, let alone big boys, and they might end up helping to balance the food consumption out.” With more players arriving, the Mounty and Tucson coaches moved to their own team’s section; the table where the coaches had been sitting was in the Goats’ section.
By ten to nine almost all of the tables were filled and the waitstaff was busy taking orders. Eric arrived at the banquet room the same time as Dallas Baker. They traded fist bumps and took a seat at the Goat coaches’ table with James and Larry.
At nine, James surveyed his team’s tables. His count told him that all of his players had arrived for breakfast. Having known Dallas when he was in middle school and high school, Eric and Larry were interested in hearing his story. James was always interested in hearing a new bit of Mayfield history and was keen to hear the story as well. But he also kept a keen eye on the players’ tables.
They knew that Dallas had come from a rough upbringing. Drug and alcohol addiction held him back as a student, an athlete, and as a person. But he was taken under the wing of the middle school’s chief custodian, Milton, aka The Schnoz. Dallas ended up living with him. Milton, who was a recovering alcoholic, helped Dallas get sober and finally grow up. Marty also became an influence in Dallas’s life by being a mentor as well his AA sponsor. James was the only person at the table who didn’t know the story and Eric was the one who knew it best, having known Dallas in school. What none of them knew is what happened to Dallas after he left Mayfield.
When Dallas graduated from high school, something few predicted he would do when he was in middle school and early high school, he figured he would spend his life in the Lewis County area, most likely in his hometown of Mayfield. But Milton had been telling him his entire senior year it was time for him to spread his wings and encouraged him to apply for college, especially when he made the honor roll the first two quarters of his senior year.
Milton and the senior guidance counselor helped him. One of the places Milton strongly suggested he apply was San Diego State. Milton said his brother lived in Huntington Beach and was an SD State grad. He was willing to take Dallas in if he was accepted to the university. He was a widower whose children were grown and out of the house.
Much to his surprise, Dallas was accepted there as well as all three colleges he applied to in Washington. He also received a partial scholarship at San Diego State. When Dallas said he could never afford to go, Milton told him not to worry about money. That’s when Dallas learned that his mentor had spent his life being frugal and had built up a nice nest egg. That was the good news. The bad news was Milton telling him he had pancreatic cancer and the prognosis wasn’t good.
“Long story short, Milton died a month after I graduated. I was his sole heir and received a tidy sum of money. His brother, Edwin, took me in and treated me like family. As Coach Sanders can tell you, during my senior year I took an interest in baseball, even though I was shit as a player. But he gave me a uniform and I became a star benchwarmer.”
“That’s not totally true,” Larry laughed. “He was eager to learn and became a decent utility player the last half of the season. He was good with his glove and his hitting improved. But most importantly, he was smart and studied the game. He knew more about how the game was played than a lot of my starters by the time the season ended. Then he played Legion Ball for the summer and really blossomed.”
Dallas smiled and went on with his story. “After I moved to California, I learned that Uncle Edwin was a highly regarded youth coach in the San Diego area, and I helped him as an assistant. I also worked hard enough to earn a roster spot on the college team as a walk-on, mainly because I could play multiple positions. That said, last spring I graduated with a degree in business administration and am working on my MBA with the financial help of Uncle Edwin. This year was going to be his last year as a head coach, but health issues forced him to step down three games into the season. Since I was assisting him, I stepped up as interim head coach. He returned to the dugout right around the Fourth of July but decided to come back as an assistant. And so, I am still the head coach of the Ocean View All-Stars, the Huntington Beach squad. And, trust me, that is the short version.”
Eric and Larry were impressed by how articulate Dallas had become. Eric knew that Milton had driven academics into the lost boy he had taken under his wing, and that included the use of the English language, both spoken and written. College had been a huge influence as well.
“Does Marty know your story?” Eric asked.
“I’ve kept in contact with him, so the answer is yes,” Dallas said. “I’ve seen him briefly when he’s played down here in Southern California. We both agree we need to get together for a long visit and discuss old and new times. I’m looking forward to seeing him at the Mariner/Angel game we’ll be going to.”
“There’s a good chance he’ll be coming by the tournament on Saturday.”
“Awesome. He is one amazing dude.” Dallas finished off his last bite of breakfast and said he had to get going. “Our team meeting is at ten-thirty at the Beach’s community center. I’ll see you guys at noon for the draw.” He stood up, shook the hands of the three coaches, and left the banquet room.
“Wow. There goes one incredible guy,” Eric said. “I never dreamed he would turn into that kind of a success. I know Aiden communicates a lot with Marty. I wonder if Marty ever told Dallas’s story to him.”
“My guess is he never has,” Larry replied. “He may have mentioned he knows Dallas, but he would never break Dallas’s anonymity by telling his story.”
“I hope Aiden gets to learn it some time. It’s quite inspirational.”
“And speaking of team meetings, let’s gather up the thundering herd and go to meeting room A for our get together,” James told the coaches.
Meeting room A was a small room with comfortable furniture. Although the Carlsbad was considered a resort, it often hosted weekend or even weeklong business gatherings, hence the various meeting rooms.  
The eighteen boys and three coaches settled in for what Coach Hallion had promised would be a short meeting. “First, thanks for your great behavior and the good manners you displayed at breakfast, especially the effort many of you made to get to know some of the players on the other teams, and even sit with them.” In this instance, Coach Hallion was referring to Aiden, Gordy, Mason, and Nolan sitting at a table with three players from the Mounties.
“Also, thanks for being on time. As you know, morning recreation until eleven-thirty is up to you. The pool is open, and the beach is available. Coach Simmons will be at the beach, and you must be within his sight. Remember the highway is a busy one and to be sure to cross at the main crosswalk. Always push the button to activate the walk light.”
Coach Hallion knew he probably sounded like a teacher preaching to a kindergarten class, but he felt obligated to make sure his charges understood how the crosswalk lights operated and how to use them. “There is nothing like this in Mayfield, of course, and Centralia doesn’t have this kind of independent crosswalk light system. So make sure you understand how it works before crossing the highway.”
He went on to tell the players to be ready to board the bus at eleven-thirty. “You will be required to wear your uniform shirts.”
“Don’t you mean our practice shirts?” Max asked, happy he was able to catch Coach Hallion making a slip.
“No, Max, I mean your uniform shirts, as in your game shirts. This is a tournament requirement for the festival. But before you ask, it’s okay to wear shorts—the shirt requirement is so everyone will see us as a team. You’ve all been told how the festival will unfold this afternoon but let me review a few things and answer any questions before you go.” The coach spent around five minutes going through the schedule for the day and the rules for staying together. The major rule was they had to move around the complex in groups of three or more. Eric then distributed wrist bands to each of the players and Rusty. As far the players were concerned, the wrist bands were the most important thing in their possession as they gave them free food at the food trucks, free games, free clinics, and free entry to the concert as well as access to the front section of seats.
“Any more questions?” Coach Hallion asked.
Cal raised his hand and was called on. “I don’t have a question, I got something to say,” he said. He then told his new teammates he had a plan for some Yard Goat fun and would take his trumpet to the field if the team agreed with the plan. Cal told them the plan and team agreed to do it. They thought it would be great fun.
Most of the boys chose to stay at the pool rather than head for the beach. Jaden and Alex had told them the day before that the ocean water could be pretty cold, especially in the morning and suggested they hang out at the pool where the water would be warmer and they wouldn’t have to sit on the sand. The resort had lounge chairs and cabanas in one section of the beach for the use of guests, but they wouldn’t be available until the afternoon.
“Yeah, but the pool will be packed with all the kids from four teams,” Mac pointed out.
“Maybe not. I think the Utah team is having some kind of a private function in one of the dining rooms. And the Tucson team might not have friends like Alex and Jaden to give them the skinny about the beach,” Aiden said. A few of the Goats were surprised and pleased to hear Aiden refer to Alex as a friend. Aiden and Nolan had passed the information about the water to the Canadians during breakfast. 
Max, Rusty, Cal, Muddy, and Miles went with Eric to the beach. Aiden and Nolan went to their room and Lenny and Riley went to theirs. The rest of the team hung out at the pool. They enjoyed meeting players from the other teams. After all, part of the fun of being in a big tournament was making new baseball friends.
<Aiden and Nolan>
“It’s been fun meeting some of the Arizona dudes, but I think it would be even more fun taking advantage of time by ourselves in our room,” Aiden said to Nolan.
“I like how you think, Sweet Cakes,” Nolan responded.
Aiden told Mason that he and Nolan would be having a quick round of fun in their room. Mason promised to stay out until eleven ten, figuring that twenty-minutes would give them plenty of time to dress and get to the bus.
“You should have plenty of time,” Aiden said. “We plan on being quick.”
“Guess you guys must be pretty horny,” Mason smirked.
“Something like that.”
 The crowd in the pool courtyard made it easy for Aiden and Nolan to slip away. They held hands from the pool until they got to their room. As soon as Nolan closed the door, he and Aiden pulled off their swimming trunks. Since they’d never gone into the pool, the suits were dry.
They dropped onto the bed they had shared the night before, exchanging hard, wet kisses, and they felt all over each other’s smooth, athletic bodies. One moment Aiden was on top, and the next moment Nolan was as they rolled around the king bed, grunting and moaning with passion. Their rock-hard pubescent cocks left thin trails of precum on their partner’s skin.
“Is the big Bear gonna be the top?” Aiden squeaked.
“Show me your ass,” Nolan replied.
Aiden raised his legs to show his smooth tween ass and his pink hole. Nolan reached into the nightstand next to the bed and pulled out a tube of lube. He quickly lubed his cock and Aiden’s crack, and the Sugar Bear entered his Sweet Cakes. The pounding was hard and deep and it didn’t take long for Nolan to dump his teen cum inside his boyfriend. It was the first time the two had made love in another state. They were certain it wouldn’t be the last. Their lovemaking had been quick, but incredibly intense.
“We might as well shower and dress,” Aiden said as the two regained their senses and shared a kiss.
“Sounds like a plan,” Nolan nodded.
After taking a quick shower together, they dressed in shorts, their uniform shirts, as instructed, and socks and shoes. They also had their equipment bags packed with their cleats, gloves, and practice shirts. They planned to change on the bus as needed.
Mason entered the room just as they were tying their shoes. “Dang, dudes, I was hoping to see you guys bouncing on the bed,” Mason said. “But your messed up bed tells me you did some serious bouncing. Remember, you told me you’d let me join you once.”
“Don’t worry your ass over it, Mason,” Nolan said. “And we said we would include you if the opportunity presented itself, as my dad would say. But, this first time here in Cali was for Aiden and me.”
“I know, I know, I wasn’t complaining about that. I understand. I was just reminding you guys us roomies gotta try hard to have a three way.”
“With the three of us together in one room, how could it not happen?” Aiden asked.
Aiden and Nolan waited for Mason to go into the shower to quickly rinse off the chlorine from the pool and dress. The roomies then headed for the loading area where the team bus was waiting for them.
<Lenny, Riley, and Skip>
Aiden and Nolan weren’t the only ones to have a quick session in their room. Lenny, Riley, and Skip enjoyed a roll on the bed Lenny and Riley had shared the night before. The three tweens were happy to kiss, lick, suck each other, and rub their cocks over each other. The fun came to a climax when Riley rubbed his three inches on Skip’s face and squirted two clear drops of watery cum on his left cheek. Skip then got on top of Lenny and humped him, quickly sending Lenny over the top as he shot his more plentiful load of tween cum against Skip’s torso, which caused Skip to shake with a dry cum.
The three roomies then enjoyed a quick three-person shower, dressed, and headed for the bus. Five of the Goats had gotten the festival off to an early and sexy start. The same was true of Asher, Tommy, and Warren, the gay boys on the Surrey Mounties.
<The Mission Sports Park>
As Eric watched the Goats pile off the bus he decided not to interfere. The boys seemed perfectly capable of exiting the bus without injuring each other without his guidance. ‘They’re mere steps away from being seasoned airplane passengers,’ he thought.
As the Goats crept down the aisle of the bus toward the door, Aiden noted that Cal was carrying his trumpet case, which ensured his plan would be in effect.
In the parking lot the Goats were met by a pair of high school boys wearing San Diego Padre tee shirts. They introduced themselves as Gavin and Troy and said they would be the ushers for the Yard Goats. The high school ushers had been one of the topics discussed at the team’s morning meeting. They were students as well as baseball players at San Marcos High School.
“What the heck is a Yard Goat?” Gavin asked.
The team was quickly getting used to the question and competed to be the first to answer. “It has to do with trains,” Grant said quickly. The rest of the team stopped and let him continue.
After Grant told Gavin and Troy the answer, they took the boys to Field 1 and guided them to row five behind two signs that set off their seating area. The seats to their left were already occupied by the Huntington Beach team. Eric and Dallas were pleased how that had worked out and situated themselves so they could sit next to each other. Dallas introduced Vince Curry, one of his assistant coaches. He was a student at San Diego State and a member of the school’s baseball team. He couldn’t play in the area’s college level summer league because he had injured his knee with two games left in the college season and had to sit out. When Dallas had to take over the team, he asked Vince to be an assistant, an offer the college sophomore gladly accepted as a way for him to stay directly connected to baseball while he rehabbed his knee.   
By twelve o’clock the sixteen teams had been efficiently seated in their assigned sections by the high school ushers. Manuel stood at the microphone that was set up at home plate. He quickly brought the raucous players to order and welcomed them to the tournament. He had met some of the teams during their practices. He then introduced Robert Perez, the tournament director.
 The director reminded the players of the logistics of the draw. Each team had a note card with their name in a box on the table set up in front of the microphone. He would begin with the pick for the 12:30 game on Field 1 by drawing two cards out of the box. The head coach and one of the captains from each team would come down to the field, using the gate at the first base dugout. Manuel would flip a quarter and the captain of the team that traveled the farthest to the tournament would call the flip. The matchup would be announced, and the team names would appear on the jumbo screen situated in left center field. While Robert was explaining what would be happening, Cal slyly removed his trumpet from its case.
Robert pulled the first card out of the box, read it, and announced the team. “The Summerlin All-Stars from Las Vegas, Nevada.” A player rose from his seat, but one of the ushers signaled him to wait. He’d forgotten he had to wait until both teams had been announced before he started down the aisle. Perez pulled out the second card, raised his eyebrows a notch, and said, “The Torrance All-Star Bulldogs from Torrance California.”
The coaches and captains stood and one of the ushers from each team guided them down to the gate, which was left open for the ceremony, and led them to the table where Manuel and Robert shook their hands. He had their names on a sheet attached to his clipboard.
He pointed to the pair wearing the Torrance uniform shirts and spoke into the microphone. “Allow me to introduce Coach Frank Parker and team captain Carl Floyd of the Torrance All-Stars Bulldogs. And from Las Vegas, Coach Andrew Jankovich and captain Lenny Griffin of the Summerlin All-Star.” Up in the stands, Riley gave Lenny a friendly punch to his arm when he heard the name Lenny being announced. The members of the Torrance and Summerlin teams cheered and whistled as the names of the two teams appeared on the jumbo screen.”
“Since the team from Nevada has come the farthest, Lenny will call the flip into his microphone.” The Las Vegas usher picked a portable microphone off the table and handed it to Lenny, who called an emphatic, “Heads!”
Manuel straddled home plate and flipped the quarter. It landed on the plate, bounced once, and came to rest. “The coin reads heads,” he announced.
“We’ll take home,” Lenny said. He’d been through his share of coin flips during the season to know what to choose. The Las Vegas team cheered as Lenny climbed up the steps to their row.
“The next draw is for Game 2, 12:30 on Field 2.” Robert dipped into the box and pulled out another card. “From Mayfield, Washington, the Mayfield Yard Goats.” Cal quickly stood and put his trumpet to his lips and blasted out the “Charge” fanfare, which sounded very clear considering he hadn’t had time to warmup the trumpet or himself since just before leaving the resort. As soon as Cal finished, the Goats jumped to their feet and filled the Field 1 stands with noise as they bellowed out “CHAAAAAAAAAAARGE!”
Frank Parker, the Torrance coach, turned to Carl, his captain, who was sitting next to him and said, “What a bunch of hot dogs. That piece of bullshit on the horn just sealed that team’s fate. Those small-town yokels are officially toast.” He looked down at the players sitting to the other side of Carl. “Trust me, boys if we play them, it will be a no mercy game.” Everyone grinned and nodded in agreement. For the Torrance All-Stars a no mercy game meant a game in which Coach Parker would make minimal substitutions in a one-sided game and have the team run up the biggest run differential they could.
Down on the field, Robert fought a smile as he waited for the noise to die down and pulled the next cards. “Head coach, James Hallion and captain Scott Keller.” The Goats had chosen Scott to represent them on the field since he had been their designated coin flip caller during the season.
Robert pulled out the next card. “The Sunnyside All-Stars from Tucson, Arizona. Head coach Bob Offerman, captain Zack Haggerty.”
When everyone was at home plate and handshakes had been exchanged, Robert announced that the Yard Goats had traveled the longer distance. Manuel flipped the quarter and Scott called out, “Tails never fails!” When the coin landed heads, Zach picked home team. He looked at Scott and said, “It never fails, except when it does. But, hey, I’ve been there, too.”
As Frank Parker watched the boys returning from the flip, he found himself rooting for Mayfield to defeat Tucson, because as fate would have it, he would be playing the winner of the Mayfield/Tucson game. He knew it would take a miracle for that to happen. But if that miracle did happen, then his team would have the opportunity to humiliate the little ass wipes and their fucking trumpet player. It never once occurred to Coach Parker that his team could possibly lose to a bunch of losers from Las Vegas.
As the draw continued, the players ran the gamut from being interested in each draw to being restless in the interim, short as that time frame was. Huntington Beach and Pacifica were pulled out of the box as the Game 6 teams.
“Good luck on the flip,” Eric told Dallas as he and his captain, Bryce Rushton, headed down to the field for the coin flip. Since Pacifica was from farther away, their captain called the flip. He called heads and lost.
Dallas returned to his seat with a grin. “It’s always nice to have the hammer,” he said to Eric. “And Bryce is the master of the coin flip.”
“He wasn’t the one who called the flip, though,” Eric noted.
“It doesn’t matter. All he has to do is stand there and it seems good enough for a win—with a hint of exaggeration, of course.”
 While waiting for the coaches and captains to get down to the field for the Game 7 flip, Eric told Dallas he’d noticed the players from three teams whose players had brought their equipment bags and asked what the deal was.
“Yep. That would be two of the three ‘Big Time’ teams and San Jose,” Dallas said. “Frank (the Torrance coach) had announced he felt having another practice would be more beneficial to winning the tournament than the baseball clinic. Nobody is more serious about winning this tournament than Frank, who is the ultimate high pressure youth coach. Harley (the San Diego Force coach) knew that Frank was going to practice today and wasn’t about to be outdone, so his team will be out in force as well.” Eric gave Dallas’s pun a proper moan. “And, as you no doubt heard, San Jose’s bus broke down on the way here and they weren’t able to hold practice yesterday.”
“But the BPA has some former college and pro players and coaches presenting many of the clinics,” Eric pointed out. The Baseball Performance Academy, a nationwide firm, had been contracted by the tournament committee to put on an afternoon baseball clinic.
“Frank played AAA ball and has been a college assistant coach,” Dallas replied. “He feels he’s just as good or better than the ‘amateur instructors’ at the clinic, as he puts it, because he knows how to work with kids and has been a successful coach at the youth level. Harley feels much the same way. As for San Jose, their coach said he was just going to have a meeting and a light familiarization workout so his kids could get in most of the clinic.”
Because there were only two teams left after the Game 7 teams were drawn, the last four teams were all down on the field and the flips were over quickly. Robert asked the teams to stay in their seats until their ushers guided them out of the complex. “You guys are in for a great afternoon and evening of fun, food, and entertainment. I know you will all enjoy the festival. And good luck to all of the teams and have fun playing in the first annual BaseBrawl tomorrow.”
With that the ushers led their respective teams out of the complex; the boys happy to be on their feet and doing something. The only gripes were under the breath grumbling from the Torrance and San Diego Force players who would rather be enjoying the start of the afternoon festivities with the other teams in the tournament instead of getting there late. The San Jose players were more accepting as they understood they got hit by bad luck the day before and they would be joining the other teams in less than an hour. While Torrance and the Force would get to the East Harbor Mall in time to grab some food from the food trucks and enjoy some clinics or arcade games, they knew practice would be short but grueling with their coaches cracking the whip.
The Goats lined up to board the bus. Eric stood at the door and handed each player a map of the high school and Mall Way as well as a schedule of events as they passed. The Goats piled onto their bus and waited for Mrs. Emerson to pull out of the parking lot, which she couldn’t do until the bus ahead of her moved out. “How long is the trip again?” Miles called out.
“Once we start moving, we’ll be in the resort parking lot in 10-15 minutes,” Mrs. Emerson answered.
“Thank you, Mrs. Emerson.” Mason had expected a coach to answer but liked that the driver told them how long it would take. It meant she knew where she was going.
Two seats behind Miles, Cal was sitting next to Aiden. He was pleased when Aiden chose to sit with him instead of Nolan, who was in the seat across the aisle. The fact that Aiden, who was a team leader, sat next to him instead of his boyfriend, even if it was just for ten minutes, made Cal feel like a real member of the team.
“You’re doing a great job fitting in with everybody,” Aiden said. “You’re really friendly, just like most of us thought, and everybody seems to like you.”
“I’m beginning to feel like a Goat,” Cal grinned. “And thanks for sitting with me.”
“Hey, you’re my teammate, bro.”
“I know, but Nolan is your boyfriend.”
As they talked, the bus started to move. They were ten minutes away from being free to explore and have fun.
“Well, there is that. But he is one of my roomies and we’ll have plenty of time to be together when we get to the festival, and I just wanted to let you know you’re really appreciated, and you haven’t even thrown a pitch yet.”
“I can’t wait until I get called on to pitch. Then I’ll REALLY feel like a Goat.”
Aiden looked over at Nolan, who nodded. He then turned back to Cal and said, “Nolan and I were wondering if you’d like to be our third while we walk around the festival.” One of Coach Hallion’s rules for the festival that they stay together in groups of at least three players.
“That would be wicked,” Cal grinned. He looked at his schedule and pointed to the two-thirty pitching clinic. “If you guys don’t mind, I’d like to go to that.”
“Nolan and I figured you’d want to go. Consider it done. And it leaves us time to visit a food truck and get some tacos.”
“I like how you think.”
“So, what do you think so far?” Aiden asked.
“I think I’m really horny,” Cal said.
“Whoa, maybe you should have jerked off last night.”
“I did and so did Miles. I don’t know about Gordy because he stayed under the covers and with the lights out it was hard to tell if he was doing anything.”
“Gordy can be shy about sex stuff until he really gets to know you, and even then he’s not always real open.”
“That’s cool. He’s already become a great friend. But jerking off wasn’t enough, I guess. I want to do more.”
“I thought you weren’t gay.”
“I’m not, but as you probably figured out that doesn’t stop me from having fun.”
“We’ll see what we can figure out for tonight,” Aiden said.
The boys sat silently until the bus turned into the high school parking lot and stopped in the school’s bus loading area. They started to get out of their seats when Coach Hallion motioned for them to sit down. “Just a couple of reminders of the rules before you go,” he said. “Remember to stay in groups of three or more. What you do during the afternoon is up to you, but you must stay in the area that’s on the map. And we will all meet on the bus at quarter to five. That’s four-forty-five for those of you who are analog timekeeping challenged. The buses will all be parked in this lot.”
Grant had Jaden and Alex’s mobile numbers so he could tell them when and where to meet up. He knew that they would be bringing their boyfriends Isaac and Josh to the festival with them. He looked forward to meeting them. Alex had told him the four of them would have wristbands given to them by Carol.
<The Festival>
After disembarking the bus, the Goats got into groups based on what was on the Festival schedule. Mac, Muddy, and Lenny joined together because they wanted to attend the catching clinic, which was slated to start in 20 minutes. They hoped that would leave them enough time to hit up a food truck for something to munch on before the clinic.
Aiden combined with Nolan, Cal, Scott, Riley and Trent for a pitching clinic. They had 40 minutes before their clinic started, which was plenty of time to grab some food.
Gordy, Mason, Miles, Lance, Mac, and Rusty headed straight to a hitting clinic which started in five minutes. They decided to wait until after the clinic to eat—if they managed to not starve to death.
Grant, Emmett, and Skip, elected to eat and see what was in the midway first. They wanted to hit up an infielders’ clinic and a hitting clinic later on the schedule.
The groups changed members between clinics so the players could attend the clinics they thought would help them the most. For example, Max, Trent, Mac, Nolan, and Scott attended the first base fielding clinic. It was a clinic the players who wouldn’t be playing the position wouldn’t be interested in attending. And players like Aiden or Lance, who would rarely be manning the position, didn’t attend because they found clinics that interested them more or decided to give the food trucks or the midway a try.
The catchers managed to make the clinic just as the instructor was introducing himself. He was Greg Anthony, a retired player who caught five years in the minors and six in the majors. He now worked as a coach at Fresno State University and as a clinician for the Baseball Performance Academy during the offseason. Greg had brought two of his Fresno State players with him to demonstrate the fundamentals as well as the individual drills he would be talking about.
The pitching clinic featured Dan Prescott, the pitching coach at the University of San Diego, and two local high school coaches with glittering resumes along with a couple of college pitchers. The hitting and infield clinics, as well as the outfield and baserunning clinics, featured instructors of equal pedigree. Larry, Eric, and James had been impressed with the caliber of instruction at the clinic. The Baseball Performance Academy had a stellar nationwide reputation, and the Mayfield coaches could see why.
The players were also impressed. They came away from the clinics they attended feeling it had been worth their time. “It wasn’t as good as the games on the midway, but I figured it was worth my time anyway,” Cal said after the pitching clinic.
“You’re silly,” Aiden chuckled.
“Maybe. We’ll see how I good I pitch next time I’m on the mound.”
“It will take some work to get those grips down,” Nolan said.
Cal had received some special help with his changeup grip. He could see improvement after just a few throws. He planned to practice it a lot when he warmed up in the bullpen.
Not everything was laughing, learning, food, and games, however. An incident happened later in the afternoon in the midway. Lenny, Skip, Riley, Emmett, and Aiden were discussing which game they wanted to try before returning to the bus. They were interrupted by three boys wearing Torrance shirts. The smallest of them was bigger than Lenny, who was the biggest boy in the Goat group.
“Hey, Clay, lookie, what we found,” Howie, the biggest of the three said to his teammates. Howie was a tall five feet six with a solid, athletic build.
“Yeah, it looks like the baseball shrimp squad,” Clay chuckled.
“Did you guys take a wrong turn coming here?” Maury asked.
“What are you talking about?” Aiden finally asked.
“Hey, guys, they know how to talk,” Howie said. “I thought all they could do was blow their fucking horns.”
“By wrong turn, I meant you guys should be someplace else because you, like, don’t belong in this tournament and you guys know you don’t belong,” Maury said.
“Tell the little fuckers what a no mercy game is Howie,” Clay said.
“A no mercy game is something they’re gonna be happy they won’t have to play in since they’re gonna be, like, playing in the losers’ tournament and won’t have to play us,” Howie responded. “But just so you know, when we hate a bunch of fuckers, like little ass wipes who think their shit don’t stink because they can blow a horn and yell stupid shit, what we do is get a humungous lead big enough to five-inning you then we don’t play our subs so we can totally rub your ugly noses in your shit and show you it does, like, really stink. Doing that to little fuckers like you is really dope, dudes, and I mean REALLY dope.”
Clay stepped around Aiden and said, “Now let’s go knock down some bottles,” he told his teammates.
Aiden moved back between Clay and the game booth. “I think we were in line next.”
Clay grabbed Skip’s uniform shirt and said, “How about I knock his ass on the ground next?”
“How about you let go of his shirt before somebody knocks you on your ass,” came a voice from behind Clay.
Everyone turned around to see a boy who was wearing a Huntington Beach uniform shirt. Three other Huntington Beach players were standing behind him. The boy who spoke was an inch taller than Howie and built as solidly.
“What’s it to you, Rushton? This ain’t your concern,” Clay snarled at Bryce Rushton, the Huntington Beach captain.
“Anybody who bullies somebody smaller than himself is my concern, Grayson,” Bryce snarled back, with a heavy emphasis on the last name. The top baseball players playing in the top California programs were well known to each other.
“What do you care what happens to these pissants from Mayfield? I mean, they, like, think they’re hot shit because somebody knows how to blow a horn,” Howie said. “Mayfield? They play baseball? Really? I mean until today, who the fuck knew?”
The five Mayfield boys stood quietly wondering where the building confrontation would end up. They were pleased that a player from one of the big-time California teams was standing up for them, but what they wanted was to just be left alone so they could knock some bottles down. Players from another team, ignoring the verbal spat, moved ahead of them to the booth to have some fun.
“It might interest you to know that coach Baker, our coach, grew up in Mayfield and is a Mayfield grad.”
“Whoop the fuck doo. It might interest you to know that I don’t give a shit. He’s not playing. How about naming me one player from Mayfield anybody’s ever heard of.”
“Marty Carlson,” Aiden called out.
“Now, there’s bullshit if I ever heard it.” Howie turned to his teammates. “Come on, dudes, let’s take ourselves to where the real baseball players are. We know they ain’t from Mayfield and it seems they don’t play for Huntington Beach either.”
“Yeah, good idea,” Clay agreed. “They’ll get their asses kicked on the baseball field where more peeps will watch it happen and laugh their butts off. It would be awesome if, like, we were the ones doing the ass kicking.”
The three Torrance players started to leave the scene. They knew if they got involved in a melee that they would be in big time trouble with their coaches and everybody in the tournament. Howie stopped them so he could get in one last word. “You dudes are a sorry bunch of motherfuckers,” he said to the Huntington Beach players. The three then made a quick exit.
“Hey, thanks for helping us out, Bryce,” Aiden said.
“Not a problem,” Bryce responded. “Those guys being ass wipes is nothing new. They’re really good players, some of the best around, but from their coaches on down they’re great big shitbags, too.”
“Coach Baker has nothing but good to say about Mayfield baseball,” John Rychner said. John was a slender boy who was a superb center fielder. “I hear they’ve, like, won, a few state high school championships and play really good sound baseball. Plus, you guys are good sports and all that.”
“I think they’re going to be surprised when they find out Marty Carlson really is from Mayfield,” Aiden grinned.
“What’s your name?” Bryce asked.
“Aiden, Aiden Miller.” He then proceeded to introduce his four teammates. Then the Huntington Beach players introduced themselves.
“I don’t know any of those three players that well, but I do know that all three of them are really good players and are also total dumb shits. I have a feeling none of them will bother to check Marty Carlson out.”
“Oh, I don’t know,” Riley said. “They might try to get their teammates to laugh about how dumb the Mayfield players are for thinking he’d believe Marty was from Mayfield and then one of them says, but Marty IS from Mayfield, Washington.” Riley was close to an expert on what playing on a team of assholes and bullies was like and how they behaved around each other.
“Hey, guys it’s our turn,” Emmett, who had been holding their place in line with Skip, called out.
“Let’s go knock down some bottles, then,” Lenny said.
“You guys can join us,” Aiden said. “We can mix our teams up and see who does what.”
“Sounds like a plan to me,” Bryce said. “What do you think guys?”
“I think making friends with these Mayfield dudes is going to be a lot of fun,” Adam Chandler, his team’s number one catcher, said.
The boys were quickly reminded that one of the purposes for entering a tournament like the BaseBrawl was to make new friends and have fun getting to know each other. This was a reason why the Ocean View All-Stars, a top-rated Southern California team, were there and a reason why the boys from little Mayfield, Washington were there: to create lasting memories of more than just playing the game of baseball, as important as that was.
After the Mayfield group and the Huntington group finished their turns at the booth, they split up. The Goats wanted to stop at the booth with the radar gun to check out the speed of their pitches. Bryce told them his group had already stopped there and were going to the last clinic session to attend the infield fielding clinic.
Their wait in line had been twelve minutes when they reached the warmup area. Here they could throw baseballs against a foam wall to warm up their arms. After a five-minute warmup, Aiden stepped up the mark on the temporary floor. He engaged the line like he would a pitching rubber and threw the first of his allotted four pitches. He hit 55 mph and knew he hadn’t thrown his hardest. His fourth pitch was his fastest, hitting 61 mph, a mile per hour below the average speed for a 13-year-old but well above the 55 average speed for a 12-year-old. Since Aiden’s thirteenth birthday was a month away, he felt good about his velocity.
Nolan topped them all with a 75 mph pitch on this third try. His speed was in the upper range for a thirteen-year-old. Nolan was three months from his fourteenth birthday. He received a printout from the computer with his top speed, as did Aiden, Skip, Riley, and Emmett, all of whom were pitchers. The printout compared their average speed to their age group and highlighted his since it was above average. Nolan got patted on the back by his teammates and congratulated by the college students who were manning the radar gun setup.
The Goats decided to head for the parking lot. Their afternoon of learning and fun was over; they wanted to sit on the bus and chill to help them get amped up for the At the Majestic concert. They turned a corner and came across Alex, Jaden, Josh, and Isaac chatting with Grant, Lance, Mason, and Muddy in the midway picnic area where they were squeezed in at one of the picnic tables. They were all munching on tacos.
Josh and Grant were engaged in a particularly lively conversation. Both boys were talking, laughing, and eating.
“Hey, it looks like we’ve got company,” Grant said while he was chewing.
“Grant, I know your mom told you not to talk while you’re chewing,” Alex said.
“That doesn’t count at picnic tables.”
“Hey, guys,” Aiden said. “I’m glad you all got to get together.”
“It’s why we all have cell phones thanks to each of us begging our parents for one,” Jaden grinned.
“So, Aiden, this handsome dude next to me is my boyfriend, Josh,” Alex said.
Aiden and Josh traded fist bumps. Aiden could see that Alex had done well for himself—he was a good looking dude. “And this big hunk to my left is my boyfriend, Nolan,” Aiden said. The introductions were quickly finished.
“You and Josh seemed to be having a good time talking,” Aiden told Grant.
“We were talking about Alex’s…um…I think the word is foibles,” Grant said.
“So, the battle of Alex’s boyfriends is over?”
“It was over before it started. I think Alex struck gold when he found Josh as his boyfriend, especially considering where it happened.”
“At an ala-teen meeting is what I understand.” Grant nodded. “I bet both of them were learning how to get along with friends and, well, just about everybody.”
“Which is something me and Alex both needed to learn.”
“Hey, you two, quit talking about me and eat,” Alex said to Aiden and Grant. The two quickly dug into the stack of tacos on the picnic table.
“These tacos are the absolute best,” Lance said.
“You know it,” Alex agreed. “Everybody loves that taco truck over any other food truck.”
“I don’t know, the pizza truck ain’t bad,” Jaden said.
“I didn’t say the others were bad, I just said the taco truck was the best.”
“I can agree with that.” Alex looked up at Aiden and said, “Can I talk to you, like, privately for a sec, Aiden?”
“Sure.” They walked over to an empty picnic table. “So, what’s up, Alex?”
“I wanted to ask you two questions.”
“Fire away.”
“Do you hate me?”
“Nope, no way,” Aiden answered instantly. “I was pissed off at you some, but Grant put me on the right track. I could wonder the same thing about you, I guess.”
“Which brings me to question two. Before the tournament’s over, do you think we could, like, find a way to meet up and have a really good talk. I mean the kind for us to, like, clear up the bad feelings.”
“Sounds great to me. Let’s trade phone numbers and see what we can come up with.”
Alex breathed a sigh of relief. That had been easier than he had expected. The two traded phone numbers and returned to the group, where a lively discussion was taking place. Jaden, Isaac, and Josh were interested to learn that Riley and Lenny were boyfriends. They didn’t have to be told that Lenny and Lance were twins.
“How do you know you’re with the right boyfriend?” Isaac asked.
“You just know, right, Grant?” Riley answered. Grant nodded in reply.
“Is everybody in Mayfield gay or something? I mean there’s three pairs of boyfriends just with you guys.”
“I’d say the Mayfield boys are a lot like the East Harbor boys are,” Alex answered, which satisfied everybody for the moment.
“I want to get back to the bus and chill for a bit,” Aiden said. “I need two guys to come with me.”
“Coach says we have to stay in groups of three,” Grant explained to Alex and his friends.
Since they were already standing, Aiden’s group fell in with him. Everybody said their good-byes and the group headed for the parking lot. 
On the way they crossed paths with Tim Whalen and three of his San Diego Force teammates.
“Hey, Aiden, what’s happening?” Tim greeted.
“Hey, Tim. Nothin’ much.” He introduced the players Tim hadn’t met yet and Tim introduced his teammates.
“Having a good time in my part of the world?” Tim asked.
“Yep. Clinics were great, the games were great, food was great, and we met lots of cool guys from different teams. It was a great afternoon.”
“Except for the bullies,” Riley said. He didn’t want to give the Torrance ass wipes a pass.
“Oh? And who were they?”
“Torrance,” Aiden said. He wasn’t going to say anything in order to avoid any controversy with his new friend, but he knew Riley’s history with bullies in baseball and understood where he was coming from.
“No surprise there,” Tim admitted. “I hope it didn’t last long.”
“Guys from Huntington Beach came by and chased their asses away. And from that we got to make new friends.”
“I’m not surprised there either. The Ocean View dudes are a class act. Kind of like you Mayfield dudes. I don’t care about what peeps say about you guys being from a small town, any place that can produce a Marty Carlson has to play some serious baseball.”
Aiden and Tim exchanged hugs and agreed to find a way to get together. The players from the two teams exchanged fist bumps and everyone on the two teams went their own ways.
When the Goat players got to the parking lot, they noted Cal in the grassy area on the west side of the parking lot throwing pitches to Mac.
“You’re sure ambitious,” Aiden said as he approached his teammates.
“I wanted to start working on that changeup grip I learned in the pitching clinic. I’m really liking it and can’t wait to try it in a game,” Cal responded.
“He’s throwing it really good,” Mac said. “I don’t know if it’s good enough for a game yet, but Cal’s gonna make that pitch a serious weapon.”
“Well, since he learned it at a clinic while he’s with playing us, I hope he makes it a weapon for the Goats before he uses it against us next spring,” Aiden said.
“It’s about time to wrap it up,” Mac told Cal. “We gotta get on the bus.” Mac had packed his mask into his equipment bag and was glad he did when Cal asked him to catch his practice pitches.
Cal squatted down and put the baseball and his glove into his equipment bag. He then opened up his trumpet case, removed his glistening instrument, wiped off the mouthpiece and blew a few notes into it. He then started playing a piece of music that sounded across the parking lot.
As Cal played his trumpet, Trent, Nolan, and Scott were entering the parking area. “Whoa, Calvin is busy on his horn,” Trent grinned.
“I wonder what’s playing?” Nolan asked. “I kinda recognize it since I hear lots of classical stuff at Aiden’s house, but I’ve got no idea what it is.”’
“It’s the ‘Prince of Denmark’s March’ by Jeremiah Clarke,” Aiden told them.
“It figures Aiden would be the one to know,” Grant said.
A few seconds later Cal stopped playing at the end of a passage. The Goats, who were amazed at the talent shown by their new teammate, applauded and cheered loudly.
“I guess you guys liked it,” Cal grinned.
“Liked it? We loved it?” Aiden said. “Are you taking your trumpet into the concert?”
“I don’t see any reason why not, Who knows, I might have to blow this and have everyone rush the stage.” Cal blew the “Charge!” fanfare to the laughter of his teammates. “Anyway, I took this thing on the airplane thinking it might come in handy some time. I mean who knows, I can’t do any worse than get a whole team pissed at us.” Cal was referring to the reaction of the Torrance Bulldogs to his rendition of “Charge!” during the draw.
“Do you know any rock songs?” Mason asked.
“There’s a few that I like to play along when I’m listening to a band or a group on You Tube that’s got a trumpet part in it. But the piece I just did, I’ll be playing with the Centralia Symphony this fall, so I’ve been practicing the shit out of it.”
“Even in parking lots,” Mason giggled.
“Yep, even in parking lots.”
None of the players had noticed the man who had stopped his walk through the parking lot and listened intently to Cal playing his trumpet. He shook his head in amazement as he stood and listened intently to the performance. As soon as Cal finished, Robert Lopez, the tournament director, walked around the Goats’ bus and continued his walk to the Majestic Theater.
 The players traded stories of their afternoon. At various times they had been in the same groups, but everyone still had a lot to share. Everyone stopped and listened intently when Aiden related what had happened at the bottle booth.
“Damn, that is a total suck fest,” Mac fumed. “I wish I’d been there to let them know what I thought of them. Who do those buttheads think they are?”
“They know they’re total assholes,” Trent said.
“You said they didn’t even know Marty is from Mayfield?” Scott asked Aiden.
“They thought we were lying to them,” Aiden replied.
“Not only losers, but dumb shit losers,” Nolan said. “The worst kind. I hope we get to play them so we can show them what kind of losers they really are.”
“Don’t forget to give Huntington credit for being winners,” Riley said. “I ended up really liking those guys.”
The boys boarded the bus and waited for Coach Hallion to review the protocols for attending the concert and returning to the bus when it was over. The Goats, especially Mason, could hardly wait to hear At the Majestic, who were arguably the most famous boy band in the country.
Next: BaseBrawl-Day 2. California Lovin’