Runners on first and second, nobody out.

I pounded a fist into the pocket of my glove and adjusted my cap.

The cloud behind first base kind of looks like an alligator.

The pitcher checked the runners, kicked and threw. Even from the outfield I heard the ball smack into the catcher’s mitt.

I wonder why there are more dandelions here in left field than in right …

Newsletter signup for email alerts

I was playing too deep, and took two steps toward the infield.

A dump truck belched black smoke as it shifted gears on the highway. It would be fun to drive a dump truck.

The coach waved at me from the bench and I waved back. Everyone on the bench started waving, so I waved at all of them. Coach yelled something, and I strained to hear him over the sound of the dump truck.

Oh, I get it.

I moved three steps toward centerfield and looked back at the bench. Coach was shaking his head. Nice guy, Coach. He sure knows a lot about baseball.

That’s a pretty butterfly. I’ve never seen a yellow and black one like that.

“Dan! DAN!!”

I looked up just as the ball skipped past me and headed for deep left. I watched it roll to a stop, then turned back toward the infield.

The kid who’d been on second was rounding third and heading for home.

The guys on the bench were all standing and pointing.

The shortstop had moved onto the edge of the outfield grass.

The batter was rounding first and heading for second.

Coach was yelling “Get the ball! GET THE BALL!!”

The ball had stopped a dozen steps behind me, and by the time I got to it the batter was rounding second and heading for third.

“Throw it! THROW IT!!”

That’s when I froze.

Throw it where? Home to get the runner? That’s a pretty long throw from here. Third base to get the batter? What if I throw it too far? Not far enough? There was something about a cutoff man ...

Someone … it might have been the pitcher … wrenched the ball out of my hand and threw it toward the infield as the batter crossed home plate.

Coach said something to a kid on the bench. The kid grabbed his glove and ran into left field.

“You’re out,” he said.

That’s too bad. I think I was supposed to be up to bat next inning.

My sneakers made little puffs of dust as I crossed the infield.

“Hi, coach,” I said as I took a seat on the bench.

Coach was busy writing something in his scorebook and didn’t say anything. He sure knows a lot about baseball.

You know, the cloud behind first base kind of looks like a giraffe …

Dan Conradt, a lifelong Mower County resident, lives in Austin with his wife, Carla Johnson.