Mayfield Magic

Chapter 11-Play to Win

Note: You will find the Yard Goats’ starting lineups for each tournament game at the end of each chapter that has a game.
The movers arrived right on time at eight-thirty. Nolan and his dad went into the basement to do the final packing of the model train layout. Nolan’s mother watched the movers with an eagle eye making sure they were careful with her furniture and the packed fragile items.
Wrapping and placing the buildings into boxes was Nolan and Paul’s primary job. The modular tables would be loaded the next day when a couple of members of the Centralia Model Railroad Club would come over to help take the tables apart and load them into the club’s van. Nolan had already packed his Legos, both the ones he used on his railroad table and the ones from his room. Those would be loaded onto the moving van and shipped to the new house that day.
Nolan called Aiden every thirty to forty-five minutes to keep him apprised on their progress. They were so ready for their night in Aiden’s bed that they boned up every time they talked to each other. Nolan was thankful he was wearing loose fitting shorts.
Paul and Vivian followed the moving van in their individual cars, making a three-vehicle convoy heading for Lakeshore Drive. Nolan took a long look around the empty house. He had lived in this house almost his entire life and he knew he would miss it until he grew used to his new home and, when September came, his new school. He knew Aiden would make his transition easier and that he would become best friends with most of Aiden’s best friends. 
He was suddenly hit by a wave of sadness. He wiped away some tears, picked up his equipment bag, made sure the front door was locked, and left his house for the last time. He walked to Carson’s house where he would be fed dinner and then ride with Carson for what could be his last practice with not only the East Centralia Scrappers, but with many of his Meadow Park friends who had been his teammates since t-ball.
<Mayfield Middle School baseball field>
The team practice was quick one; crisp and filled with positive chatter. Its intent was to keep everyone sharp. The Goats were determined not to have another inning like the one that cost them in their loss to Clark Pass.
After practice was over, Coach Hallion called a quick meeting to go over the starting pitching for the weekend. He, Eric, and Kevin had held a meeting after Wednesday’s game to devise a pitching plan. The plan not only dealt with who the starting pitchers would be, but how they would use the bullpen with various scenarios being used. Eric was the one who would keep track of the pitching spreadsheet and keep Coach Hallion informed.
“Just remember one important thing, coach,” Eric said.
“What’s that?” the head coach asked.
“Coaches plan and God laughs.”
“All too true. That’s why we have plans B through Z,” Coach Hallion chuckled.
After the team was seated for the meeting, Coach Hallion went straight into pitching. “We all know that Scott will start against Winton on Saturday. We also know that a loss in any of our weekend games will end the season for us. That said, after we beat Winton, Trent will pitch the first game against Clark Pass on Sunday. If we win that game Aiden will start the second game. Because he will be pitching on short rest, he will pitch until he reaches 50 pitches or three innings pitched, whichever comes first. If we come out of that unscathed, we’ll be playing the Mountain South winner on Saturday. The starter for that game will be announced at Monday’s practice.  
“Okay guys, get plenty of sleep, eat well, and be ready for what should be a three-game weekend. Game time is at one and I’ll see you at Centralia One at noon on Saturday.”
Before anybody could move, Mac, Trent, and Scott stood up and yelled out in unison, “How do we play?”
“We play HARD!” the team shouted back.
“How else do we play?”
“We play SMART!”
“Put both of those together and it means we are playing how?”
“We’re playing to WIN!”
The players headed home determined to be a better team than the one that lost 3-1 to Clark Pass.
<Grant, Riley, Lance, Lenny>
The twins decided that Thursday night was the perfect time to have their boyfriends over to spend the night. And to make it even better, the Brat was spending the night at Wendy Haskins house. She made it clear to her brothers that while she might end up sleeping in Wendy’s bed, she planned on getting naked with her brother Emmett and spending a lot of time in his bed.
“I can have fun with boys just like you do,” Brenda told her brothers haughtily.
“Just remember, there’s no way you can ever threaten to tell mom about what us guys do together because she’ll get a lot madder about what you do with Emmett than what we do with our friends,” Lenny said sternly.
“Probably not,” Brenda smirked as she bounced out of the twins’ bedroom.
“She’s still the Brat and will always be a brat,” Lance told his brother.
“Ain’t no doubt about that,” Lenny said.
Lenny and Lance didn’t care what Brenda did with Emmett, nor did they want to know. What happened was the business of their friend and teammate. If Brenda started to tell them about her sexual adventures with him, they planned on holding their hands over their ears and singing. Of course, if he wanted to tell them what happened they’d be more than happy to listen.
The sex in the twins’ room ended up being Lenny fucking Riley on Lance’s bed and Lance fucking Grant on Lenny’s bed. When Riley asked Lenny why he and Lance switched beds for the sex Lenny simply said, “Because he likes to do things different sometimes.” Riley nodded his head as if Lenny’s answer made sense and then told Lenny to make him feel good. Lenny eagerly obliged.
Lance and Grant listened to the brief conversation on the other bed and then went to fucking in concert with Lenny and Riley. It was a good night for the four pubescent boys.
<Aiden and Nolan>
Nolan’s dad picked him up after his practice was over. They stopped off at the Centerville Café for dinner and then traveled to Mayfield, which was now their home.
Paul Moyer dropped Nolan off at Aiden’s house. Before Nolan stepped out of the car, Paul stopped him and said, “I’ll pick you up at ten tomorrow. That should give you enough time to sleep in. I have a feeling you and Aiden don’t plan to get to bed early tonight.”
‘At least not into bed to sleep,’ Nolan thought.
“The Model Club members who are helping us tomorrow will be at the house by eleven.” Paul was on a leave of absence until the day after Labor Day when he would start his new position as a County Superior Court judge. That would give him plenty of time to get moved in, go to California for the BaseBrawl, and take the private rail car trip as well as prepare himself for the new job.
Paul grinned as he watched Aiden dash out of the house and exchange a hug and a long kiss with his son. Even though his wife had overcome her disapproval of the boys being boyfriends, she wasn’t enthusiastic about the idea. Paul, on the other hand, totally approved and hoped the boys could maintain the relationship they had as they adjusted from being long-distance boyfriends to being boyfriends living in the same neighborhood. He was happy that his son felt comfortable enough with himself that he could openly accept his gayness.
Larry and Phil followed Aiden out of the house to talk to Paul. They waited for the boys to break their embrace and then greeted Nolan and Paul.
“Howdy neighbors,” Larry grinned
“And a big howdy to you too,” Paul said.
“Hey, Coach Larry. I hear this is a pretty nice neighborhood,” Nolan said.
“Only if you like water, hills, and having a baseball crazy boy as your neighbor,” Larry responded.
“The water will make me wet, I can climb the hills and see the mountains, and as for the boy, I think I can learn to like him.”
“You better learn to like me if you want more kisses,” Aiden said.
“Then I consider liking you to be a done deal,” Nolan grinned.
The boys headed into the house to let the adults have their fun. “I think having you and Vivian as neighbors is going to be special,” Phil said.
“Meaning our presence will cause property values to rise,” Paul chuckled.
“One can only hope.”
“We do have one thing we’re going to have to discuss soon,” Larry said.
“I’m sure you mean the rules of engagement for our sons,” Paul said.
“It is exactly what I was thinking.”
“The way Vivian and I see it, at least to start, is that we play it by ear and see what works and what doesn’t. We really don’t think we have to place restrictions on their overnights until just before school starts. We would like to have some nights that are just family, and we plan on inviting some of our Mayfield and Centralia friends for dinner or a barbecue or whatever, which would be a family affair as well.” Paul gave Larry and Paul a big smile and said, “As well as a neighbor affair.”
“I like how you think, Judge,” Larry grinned. “We’ll set some simple rules, like you having your family nights. Otherwise, we’ll make rules as we need them. Those are two really good kids and I’m glad we think alike that a strict set of rules, other than school nights and the like, aren’t necessary.”
“How would the Moyer family like dinner at the Miller Estate tomorrow?” Phil asked.
“I’ll have to check with Vivian, but I’m sure she’ll say yes,” Paul said.
“She already has.”
“I have a feeling I’m really going to like living out here in the boonies,” Paul chuckled.
Larry and Phil found Aiden and Nolan noshing on some homemade oatmeal raisin cookies and drinking lemonade while watching ESPN Sports Center. The Mariners had an off day before starting a three-game series at Denver on Friday. The exciting news for the boys was that Marty had been chosen to play in the All-Star Game at Atlanta on Tuesday. He was one of three Mariners chosen for the team. Aiden was particularly happy that there were no league tournament games scheduled for Tuesday and he would be able to watch the game. “I just hope Marty gets to play,” he said more than once.
After finishing their evening snack, the boys took on Larry and Phil in a best of five series at the ping pong table. Aiden and Nolan played naked while the men wore gym shorts. The men defeated the boys 3-1 in a series that pitted age and cunning against youth and power. On this occasion age and cunning dominated by scores of 11-6, 11-5, 10-12, and 11-9.
“We were starting to wear you guys down,” Nolan said. “If it was a best of seven series we might have come back and won.”
“I don’t know about you, Phil, but I seem to recall the youngsters having a 7-4 lead in Game 4,” Larry said.
“I seem to remember the same thing. I also remember the worn-down old men outscoring the fiery youth 7-2 down the stretch of that game.”
“Okay, okay, we get it,” Aiden said. “But you better be ready for some fast action next time we play.”
Larry and Phil answered with nods and grins. Everyone left the games room and went upstairs where good nights were said and good night hugs were given. “Now that you’re our neighbor and will probably be spending a night or two more at our house than you used to, you get the same good nights as Young Master Aiden”. Nolan enjoyed the good night hugs from the two sweaty men and had no problem with the hugs becoming a regular routine.
As the boys headed for Aiden’s room, Larry fixed some iced tea and he and Phil relaxed in the TV watching room.
“Young Nolan is developing one hell of a beautiful body for a thirteen-year-old,” Larry commented. “Did you catch that six pack on him?”
“I did,” Phil replied with a leer. “I also caught that thing swinging between his legs. That boy is going to end up being nicely endowed. I’d guess he already satisfies our son very deeply.”
“To coin a phrase,” Larry chuckled.
“Gotta wonder if he takes after his dad.”
“We may never know.”
After Aiden and Nolan took care of their pre-bed rituals, they sat on Aiden’s bed and had a wild make-out session. There was deep kissing; rubbing, more kissing, sucking on each other’s nipples, and even more kissing.  Nolan rimmed Aiden and then turned him over and licked his smooth balls. Aiden then licked Nolan’s ass and finally came on Nolan’s firm abdomen and then spread his watery cum over his boyfriend’s sixpack.
“You came and I still want to fuck you,” Nolan said after a long, breathless kiss.
“So, what’s stopping you?” Aiden asked. “We agreed that you’d get to be the top in your first fuck as a Mayfield resident.  Now fuck me hard to make me cum again.”
“How about we do it out on the balcony?”
“We also agreed one first thing at a time, so tonight it’s on my bed.”
“Damn, you’re strict Mr. Miller.”
“Thank you and I know you like it and now FUCK ME!”
Nolan was so worked up his love making didn’t last long. His orgasm was so intense he had to bite his lower lip to keep from having an eardrum shattering screech. He plowed Aiden hard and deep, stimulating his sweet spot to where Aiden shot another, but smaller, load of tween cum over his sheets.
“Fuck, dude, that was intense,” Aiden gasped.
“And I hope we have many more of those to cum,” Nolan said.
“I have a feeling we will. And I can’t wait to fuck you on my balcony.”
“And I can’t wait to fuck you in my bed. Nice thing about the new house is I’m a lot farther away from my parents’ bedroom. We can grunt and moan a little bit louder. But I do have the feeling group sex will have to be at your house.”
“I’ve got no problem with that,” Aiden chuckled.
The two young boyfriends did not take up much space on the big king bed as they snuggled tightly and slept soundly.
<Miles and Gordy>
Miles spent the night at Gordy’s house. The two friends got naked after preparing for bed. They jerked off on Gordy’s bed before sleeping in the nude together. They didn’t snuggle before falling asleep, however.
<Mac and Trent>
Even though Trent wouldn’t be pitching until Sunday, if the Goats beat Winton, he and Mac agreed it would work best if they got their ritual in Thursday night. The weekend was too busy for them to take care of their ritual then.
“We’ll have plenty of time to make up for missed sessions in bed if we want to,” Trent had told Mac at the end of practice.
“Why wouldn’t we want to?” Mac asked.
“Jackson’s been calling us boyfriends.”
“Big fucking deal. It’s not like he doesn’t mind plowing your ass.”
“Good point. Maybe I should play with him and admit that we are really boyfriends.”
“I love it,” Mac grinned. “And then we can ask if he wants to have that little orgy with our girls and really blow his mind.”
“Which does make me want to ask when ARE we going to go three on three with the girls?”
“I think we should wait until after our last baseball game so we can give it our full attention,” Mac said.
“I agree and until we finally ask Jackson about it we keep making him think we’re going to be the studliest gay freshmen at Mayfield High this fall,” Trent chuckled.
“I couldn’t agree more.” Mac planted a quick kiss on Trent’s lips. “Gotta keep our reputation up.”
Aiden and Larry helped Nolan and Paul with the second part of the model railroad move. Between them and the three members of the model railroad club who drove the club’s van to the former Moyer house there was plenty of help in getting everything moved. They had everything unpacked at the Moyer’s Mayfield house by two o’clock. Paul and Nolan, along with occasional help from Larry, Phil, and Aiden, figured to have the railroad set up by the following weekend. The modular construction helped everything go quickly and smoothly.
A great deal of the work was accomplished over the next two hours as the experienced model railroaders and Paul connected all the sections except for Nolan’s and the mountain sections. The modelers left at four and Larry, Aiden, Nolan, and Paul went to the Miller’s house where Phil was cooking a pot roast with potatoes and carrots. Vivian arrived from work about twenty minutes later. The new neighbors got to know each other better as they enjoyed the fine meal along with a peach cobbler for dessert.
Mayfield’s upcoming tournament game the next day was a big topic of conversation. Nolan and Paul planned to be at the Centralia Baseball Complex to watch the game. Aiden would be spending the night in his bed where he hoped to have a good night’s sleep and Nolan would spend his first night in his bedroom at the Mayfield house. He planned to christen it with a nice masturbation session.
Since it was Saturday, Phil wasn’t working. And since the Mayfield Dynamos, Phil’s 14 and under team, didn’t have their tournament game until six o’clock, Phil would be able to watch the Goats play. He drove his own truck, however, so he wouldn’t have to drive to Mayfield and back after Aiden’s game.
Riding in the Odyssey were Aiden, Mason, Max, Rusty, and Muddy. Rusty and Mason’s mothers would be at the game; Max and Muddy would probably ride back to Mayfield with Larry and Aiden.
Everyone was at the field by noon. Even though Mayfield and Winton had finished tied for second in the division, Mayfield would be the home team since they defeated the Travelers in both of their league games. Scott looked sharp in the top of the first, putting the Travelers down in order on only seven pitches.
Landon had told Aiden on the phone the night before that Dean Sims, their starting pitcher, had three pitches, “Hard, Harder, and Hardest. Sometimes he even knows where he’s throwing it.”
“For real?” Aiden asked.
“Not usually, but every now and then he can be a bit wild.”
The bottom of the first was one of those “every now and then” times for Dean. He walked the first two batters on nine pitches before Trent rapped a solid single to left. It was hit too hard and too short a distance to score Gordy, who was on second. But the Goats now had the bases loaded with nobody out. Muddy took care of the loaded bases with a drive up the third base line that cleared the fence just barely fair for a grand slam home run. After rounding the bases, the stoic Muddy collected several high fives from his celebrating teammates.
“It’s okay to smile when you have a grand salami,” Aiden told him.
“I’ll smile after we win,” Muddy responded with no expression.
With the Goats jumping out to a quick 4-0 lead, Dean decided to throw his hardest, which led to him walking Scott. Since Emmett was the designated runner for the pitcher for the game, Coach Hallion sent him to run for Scott. Miles took two balls and then sent a 2-0 fastball to the fence for a run-scoring double, giving the Goats a 5-0 lead. Mac then flied out to left for the first out, Riley struck out, and Grant grounded out to short to end the inning. It looked like Dean had settled down. The Yard Goats had batted around in their five run first.
Larry found it ironic that Winton had scored five runs in the bottom of the seventh in their last league game to win a playoff berth and then turned right around and gave up five runs in their first playoff game to all but get knocked out of the game—unless, of course, they had another big rally left in them.
That turned out not to be the case. Instead, the Goats put on another big inning in the second, with Trent and Scott hitting RBI doubles to spark a four-run inning. The Goats now led 9-0 after two innings of play.
Mac added a run in the third when he led off the inning with his first career home run to give the Goats a 10-0 lead. Over the first three innings Scott had given up one hit, walked one, and struck out six. The Goats had surprised themselves, not to mention Winton, with their big lead.
Coach Hallion decided to bring in a new pitcher in the top of the fourth. With a big lead he saw no reason to put any more stress on Scott’s arm. Grant pitched the fourth, giving up a run on a walk and a double to make the score 10-1. The Travelers brought in their fourth pitcher of the game in the bottom of the fourth. He was no more effective than the others, lasting only a third of an inning against what was essentially the Goats’ bench. A four-run inning, punctuated by a Mason two-run double, gave the Goats a 14-1 lead.
That ended up being the final score as Rusty pitched a 1-2-3 top of the fifth. The game was then called because of the 10-run mercy rule. The fact that Mayfield won didn’t surprise anybody, it was how they won that was the shocker.
“What kind of energy drink did you guys have before the game?” Landon asked Aiden when they met up after the game.
“Don’t ask me,” Aiden replied. “I thought it was going to be a close game and instead it was, like, Wow!”
“I’ve never been ten-runned before. It’s not much fun, that’s for sure. Have you ever had it happen to you?”
“Nope, and I hope it never does. Even winning one isn’t as much fun as you’d think, especially when you like the team you’re clobbering.”
“So, if we had been Kentburg, you would have kept it in notch eight, right?” Landon asked, using railroad terminology for running at full throttle.
“You got it, dude. We would have begged our coach to keep the starters in.”
Aiden and Landon traded high fives and Landon left to meet his parents. Aiden then went over to Field #2 where West Centralia was playing Tenino in the first-round tournament game in the Mountain South division. Tenino had a 5-2 lead going into the seventh inning. West Centralia was the home team. He saw Nolan sitting with Carter behind the first base dugout in the top row of the bleachers.
“Hey guys,” Aiden said as he sat next to Nolan.
“Helluva game dude,” Nolan said. “I was glad you kicked ass so I wouldn’t have to bounce back and forth between games. Now it’s you against Clark Pass tomorrow.”
“Yep, and it looks like you’re going to be playing Tenino next to us on Field #2.” The Goats would be playing Clark Pass on Field #1.
“Yeah, I can’t believe how West choked going down the stretch and at the same time Tenino did everything right.”
“Well, now they’ve got to face my boyfriend who’s the best seventh grade pitcher in the league. I’ve got my money on you guys.”
“Trent’s starting for you guys tomorrow, right?” Aiden nodded. “And you start the IF game if you beat CP.”
“Yep, except I’ll be pitching no more than three innings or 50 pitches or something like that. I know I won’t be going far and the way I figure it I’ll pitch until Coach Hallion yanks my butt off the field.”
“Well, the greatest matchup I can think of is us playing you on Saturday,” Carter said. “I mean it would be boyfriend against boyfriend in one game to decide the Mountain Division championship. Woohoo!”
“Although why it’s only one game instead of a best of three I still can’t figure out even after hearing all the reasons,” Aiden said.
“They said it was to save on pitcher’s arms,” Carter said.
“Who’s they?”
“You know, them. The guys who say stuff like that.”
“My parents won’t let me get away with telling them what ‘they’ said,” Nolan said. “They want to know exactly who says stuff like that and if I don’t know who said it then they don’t want to hear about it.”
“And my dads are exactly the same,” Aiden said.
“Mine never bother to ask about it. They are they as far as they’re concerned,” Carter told his friends.
“Anyway, if you want to rest an arm or two, do it in tomorrow’s games and don’t have an IF game. Whatever, in the end we gotta play what they tell us to play,” Aiden said. “I guess the words are, ‘Play Ball’ not ‘Save Arms’.”
There wasn’t much action in the seventh and Tenino won 5-2 as West Centralia ended its season with three straight losses and four losses in their last six games. Nolan’s team would be playing Tenino while the Goats would be playing Clark Pass at two o’clock the next day.
Nolan joined Aiden and Larry for dinner at Schultz’s Café. Phil was getting the Dynamos ready for their game on Field #1 which Nolan, Aiden, and Larry planned to watch. Paul and Vivian said they would try out the stove in their new kitchen. Nolan would ride home with Larry and Aiden after the Dynamo game was over.
The game went well for the Dynamos, who defeated Harborview 7-4. They would be playing a six o’clock loser out game against Yelm at the Lacey Baseball Complex the next day.
“I’m surprised you guys decided not to spend the night together,” Larry said as they drove on Highway 12.
“We both have big games tomorrow,” Aiden responded. “We decided from now on we’ll have lots of chances to sleep together and tonight we just wanted to get a good night’s sleep.”
“That’s very mature of you boys.”
“But that doesn’t mean we can’t share a long kiss together,” Nolan said as Larry turned left onto Lakeshore Drive. He planted his lips onto Aiden’s and the two boys barely came up for air until Larry pulled into the Moyer’s driveway.
“Wow, that had to set a record for our longest kiss ever,” Aiden breathed as they finally separated.
“I was worried I might have to perform artificial respiration before we made it to Nolan’s,” Larry chuckled.
“Daaad, we knew what we were doing,” Aiden whined.
“Or so you say.”
“Good night, Coach Larry,” Nolan said as he exited the minivan. Larry opened his window and traded a fist bump with his son’s boyfriend. The bulge in Nolan’s shorts made it obvious what kind of effect the long kiss had on him. ‘The kid is already pretty well endowed,’ Larry thought as Nolan headed into his house. Larry was certain that Aiden was equally excited. He had no doubt that both boys would have to take care of the issue before they could fall asleep. He had the two perfectly pegged.
Since their games started at the same time, Aiden and Nolan rode to Centralia together with Nolan’s parents. Every Goat player had a ride, so Larry drove to Centralia in the Accord. Phil drove separately because he would be driving north to Lacey when Aiden’s game was over. If the Goats won and there was an IF game, Larry would be staying behind to watch Aiden play the second game.
Phil drove the Ram pickup he and Larry had purchased used before the start of summer baseball. The Silverado was a county vehicle, which he could drive home. He could use it for commuting to work and back; other personal use was limited to short errands into town, which he had to log.  But between Aiden and the team he coached, he needed a truck he could use more often and for longer distances, hence the purchase of the Ram.
Aiden and Nolan ducked under the Field 2 bleachers after arriving at the complex. They wished each other luck, traded a ten second kiss, and went to meet their respective teams.
Because they were the regular season champions, Clark Pass would be the home team on the scoreboard for the first game. Since they started the best of three series with an automatic 1-0 series lead, the Bucks would advance to the Mountain Division final if they won the game. If the Goats won the game, then the series would be tied at 1-1 and the IF game would have to be played. It would start a half hour after the finish of the first game.
Trent was the starting pitcher for the Goats and Julio Gonzalez was the starter for the Bucks. Gonzalez was a big thirteen-year-old and a good pitcher. He threw hard and had a wicked changeup.
Aiden knew that he would be starting the second game for the Goats with restrictions on how many pitches he could throw, and Cal would be starting for the Bucks with no restrictions.
The game got off to a rough start for the Goats. They went down in order in the top of the first inning. The leadoff batter for the Bucks fouled out to Mac and the number two batter hit a hard grounder to Aiden who didn’t drop down low enough and had the ball go off his glove for an error. The number three hitter tripled the runner in and then scored on a sacrifice fly by the cleanup hitter. Trent struck out the number five hitter, but the Bucks had scored two unearned runs to take a quick 2-0 lead.
That was how the score stood until the top of the fourth. Aiden led off the inning with a double down the first base line. Scott grounded out to the second baseman and Aiden moved up to third on the play. Muddy hit a solid single to knock in Aiden. Trent followed up with a single, but Miles hit into a 4-6-3 (second to short to first) double play to end the inning. The score was now Bucks 2, Yard Goats 1.
The score quickly changed in the bottom of the inning when Julio Gonzalez got all of a fast ball that Trent threw over the middle of the plate and launched it over the center field fence. The Goats were awestruck by the shot—it was the kind of long home run they had become accustomed to from Muddy. They knew that the Bucks had a couple of power hitters, but Julio’s home run was an example of Power with a capital P. Even Muddy hadn’t hit one out to dead center—at least not yet. At the end of four innings the score was Clark Pass 3, Mayfield 1.
The fifth inning was scoreless. Clark Pass sent a new pitcher to the mound to start the sixth inning: James Rogers. Rogers was not as skilled as Julio and the Goats got to him quickly. Back-to-back singles by Gordy and Aiden put runners on first and third with no outs. Aiden took off for second on the second pitch by James and kept right on to third when Trent got hold of a pitch and hit it off the third base foul pole. The plate umpire signaled it fair giving Trent a three-run homer and the Goats a 4-3 lead.
Some of the parents screamed at the umpire that the ball was a foul ball because it hit the foul pole. The Clark Pass coach tried to calm them down. He knew that the foul pole was fair just like the foul line was fair—it was one of those idiosyncrasies of baseball.
Coach Hallion and Eric conferred with Trent and Mac as Scott went to the plate. They asked Trent how he felt, and he said he felt fine. Mac said he thought Trent was still strong, but they should watch him carefully in the bottom of the inning. Everybody had seen what happened when Clark Pass had replaced their starter. Coach Hallion didn’t want to remove Trent until he had to. James settled down and put Scott, Miles, and Mac down in order.
Coach Hallion replaced Max at first base with Lenny in the bottom of the inning and had Muddy put on catcher’s gear and warm up Max. Trent made it through the sixth, however, striking out two of the three batters he faced in the inning.
The Goats added an insurance run in the seventh when Lenny led off with a single. Rusty struck out on a wild pitch that advanced Lenny to second. Gordy flied out to left and then Aiden singled in Lenny. Trent grounded out to third to end the inning. The Goats now had a 5-3 lead going into the bottom of the seventh.
Coach Hallion had already made up his mind to have Max pitch the seventh. He felt he needed a fresh arm to finish the game, and, with one exception, Max had been an effective closer during the season. Max didn’t disappoint—he struck out the first two batters, then walked the third batter on a 3-2 pitch that was a strike but was missed by the umpire. It didn’t matter as Max struck out the next batter to end the inning and the game. The IF game would start in half an hour.
Aiden, Gordy, Miles, and Mason grabbed a Gatorade from the cooler in the dugout and hustled over to Field 2 to see how the Scrappers were doing against the Tenino Hoggers. Aiden was pleased to see that the seventh inning was about to start with the Scrappers, who were the home team, leading the Hoggers 6-2. Aiden saw that Ryan Fiedler was warming up for the Scrappers.
“I wonder if Nolan pitched the first six innings,” Aiden said to no one in particular.
“The answer is, yes he did,” Larry, who had walked up behind the four Goats, said.
“Were you watching them or us play?” Gordy asked.
“My spy had just told me.”
“And I bet your spy is Nolan’s dad,” Aiden grinned.
“So much for being covert,” Larry moaned.
Trent, Scott, and Mac joined the crowd. “You probably should start warming up,” Mac told Aiden.
“Yeah, you’re right. It looks like the Scrappers have this game locked,” Aiden responded. Lenny was going to be the starting catcher for the Goats. Kevin and Coach Hallion decided that Lenny should warm up Aiden, which would get Lenny warmed up as well. Plus it would give Mac a chance to get a good rest in case he would be needed to catch late in the game.
The league rules stated that if there was an IF game in the division playoffs, the home team would be decided by a coin flip. Because Clark Pass traveled the longer distance to the game, they would call the flip. At the home plate meeting, the Bucks coach called heads. The plate umpire flipped a quarter which landed tails. To no one’s surprise Coach Hallion said Mayfield would take home. That meant Aiden would take the mound immediately after the lineups were announced.
Calvin was the starting pitcher for Clark Pass. He and Aiden were similar as pitchers. They both had slim builds and threw fastballs that were deceptively fast considering their builds. They each had mastered the art of the changeup and could throw decent breaking balls. They did not look intimidating, instead they gained their advantage through their smarts rather than through intimidation. Pitchers like Nolan and Trent, with big solid builds and hard fastballs, fell into the intimidating classification, but they were smart pitchers as well.
The game was a loser out game for both teams. The winner would play the winner of the East Centralia/Tenino game on Field #2 and the loser would be eliminated from the league tournament.
Cal and Aiden were sharp their first two innings with neither one of them allowing a baserunner. Aiden, who was on a 50-pitch restriction, threw 22 pitches over the two innings. Coach Hallion had hoped for three innings from Aiden but was now thinking he might be able to get four innings and maybe even work into the fifth. Calvin was working under the 86-pitch limit set by the Southwest League.
Aiden allowed his first baserunner, a two-out single, in the top of the third. He struck out the next batter to end the inning. He threw 11 pitches, giving him a total of 33. Calvin threw another 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of the third and had now thrown three perfect innings.
Coach Hallion decided to chuck his three-inning restriction and go strictly by Aiden’s pitch count. He sent Aiden to the mound to pitch the fourth inning.
Aiden pitched an efficient fourth inning, using only eight pitches to put down the three batters he faced. He had thrown 41 pitches. Coach Hallion decided to keep him on the mound for the first two hitters in the fifth.
The Goats got to Cal in the bottom of the fourth. Gordy flied out to left to start the inning and then Aiden singled. Since Aiden was still in the lineup as a pitcher, Coach Hallion could replace him at first with Riley, who was the pitcher’s designated runner.
Trent followed Aiden’s hit with a double, scoring Riley from first. After Muddy struck out, Scott singled in Trent to give the Goats a 2-0 lead. Miles lined to second to end the inning.
Aiden retired the first two batters in the fifth before being replaced by Lance, who got the third out. Cal was betrayed by his defense in the bottom of the fifth as two infield errors and two hits led to another two runs giving the Goats a 4-0 lead. Lance gave up a run in the top of the sixth making the score 4-1.
Gary Swanson took the mound for the Bucks in the bottom of the sixth and pitched a scoreless inning. Coach Hallion had Max take the mound in the seventh to close the game. Mac substituted for Lenny at catcher since Max had thrown to Mac in all his closing situations. Max struck out the first two batters in the inning and got the third to hit an infield popup that was caught by Trent, who was now playing first, giving the Goats a 4-1 win.
The Mayfield players ran out onto the field as soon as the last out was called by the base umpire. Over the last three games, which had all been loser out games, the Mayfield Yard Goats had played hard, played smart, and played to win. They would now be playing the East Centralia Scrappers on Saturday for the Mountain Division championship in yet another loser out game.
Aiden saw Nolan standing in the bleachers watching the celebration. He ran over to his boyfriend, who blew him a kiss. “Hey, Sweet Cakes, looks like we go at it,” Nolan grinned. He was as happy about the outcome as Aiden.
“You can still spend the night with me,” Aiden grinned.
“Tomorrow. You at my house. Be ready for action.”
“Sounds like a plan, Sugar Bear. I’ll talk to you on the phone after we get home.”
“Call me in the morning. I’m gonna spend some family time tonight. But don’t call too early.”
“Call early? Moi? Really? No worries on that one, Bear.”
Aiden waved and turned to get into the handshake line. “You guys were better,” Cal said when he and Aiden exchanged high fives.
“We might have been better this weekend, but you did the job during the regular season,” Aiden responded.
“Right, but you guys have a chance to be the league champions. We get to go home to stay.”
“Except for guys going to California,” Aiden reminded him.
“I’m ready to go now,” Cal said as he and Aiden continued down the line.
Aiden checked the other league tournament scores when he got home and showered. After drying himself he didn’t bother to dress. He saw that the Columbia Division championship game would feature the Monte Bulldogs and the Washtucna Knights. Monte (14-3) was the regular season champion in the Columbia North and Washtucna (12-6) was first in the Columbia South. East Centralia (13-4) had finished first in the Mountain South.
The Yard Goats (14-5) were the only team in the final four that had not finished first in its division during the regular season. Aiden felt proud of that fact—it meant he and his teammates had indeed been playing smart, playing hard, and playing to win to make it this far in the playoffs.
And now came the one-game playoff for the Division titles on Saturday.  The Mountain and Columbia winners would then play each other Wednesday and Thursday in a best of three series for the Southwest Washington 13 and under League Championship. To get to the championship finals, Aiden’s Goats would have to defeat Nolan’s Scrappers. If the Goats won, it would mean Nolan would have played his last game with his Meadow Park friends and teammates.
Aiden took Horace off his shelf and set the stuffed donkey on his bed. He got on his knees and said his gratitude prayer, tucked himself in under the covers, and cuddled with Horace. Not for the first time he wondered if he should ask his dads for an occasional tucking in. He had asked his dads to no longer tuck him in just before the end of the school year. He would be an eighth grader and eighth graders didn’t need to be tucked in—they were at the top of the middle school hierarchy after all.
He thought about sleeping with Nolan in Nolan’s new house for the first time tomorrow night. He and Nolan could tuck each other in. Aiden then thought about going downstairs and cuddling with his dads. After tossing the pros and cons back and forth, he picked up Horace and padded downstairs. He was still naked, but he didn’t care…his dads knew how to be careful around him. Right now, he just needed to smell their smells and feel their strength. While Aiden wouldn’t admit it, he knew that while he was now a big-time eighth grader, he still had a lot of little boy in him.
Next: Let’s Go Yard Goats!
JULY 11 vs Winton Travelers at Centralia Baseball Complex-Field 1
  1. Gordy-SS (6)
  2. Aiden-2B (4)
  3. Trent-3B (3)
  4. Muddy-DH batting for Max-!B (3)
  5. Scott-P (1)
  6. Miles-LF (7)
  7. Mac-C (2)
  8. Riley-CF (8)
  9. Grant-RF (9)
Max-1B (3)
Note: In baseball the positions are numbered. I’ve been using the position numbers on occasion with a written explanation of the play. Here is how the numbering system works: 1-pitcher, 2-catcher, 3-first base, 4-second base, 5-third base, 6-shortshop, 7- left field, 8-center field, 9-right field. The numbers of the list where in the batting order the starter is. The number in parentheses is the position number.
 JULY 12 Game 1 vs Clark Pass Bucks at Centralia Baseball Complex-Field 1.
  1. Gordy-SS (6)
  2. Aiden-2B (4)
  3. Scott-3B (5)
  4. Muddy-DH batting for Riley-CF (8)
  5. Trent-P (1)
  6. Miles-LF (7)
  7. Mac-C (2)
  8. Max-1B (3)
  9. Rusty-RF (9)  
JULY 12 Game 2 vs Clark Pass Bucks at Centralia Baseball Complex-Field 1
  1. Gordy-CF (8)
  2. Aiden-P (1)
  3. Trent-3B (5)
  4. Muddy-DH batting for Grant-2B (4)
  5. Scott-SS (6)
  6. Miles-LF (7)
  7. Max-1B (3)
  8. Lenny-C (2)
  9. Mason- RF (9)