Because Silver Valley Girl's daughter Z2 turned 13 on July 15, I assigned me and my sisters to write about the number 13. Silver Valley Girl's post is here; InlandEmpireGirl's post is here.
Wallace's Jerry Lowen smashed a low line drive about three feet to my left. I was playing third base.
I had one of those moments athletes like Michael Jordan, Brooks Robinson, Wayne Gretsky, Joe Montana, and Kobe Bryant have all the time.
Everything went into slow motion. The baseball coming off Jerry Lowen's bat looked like a volleyball.
I dove to my left, my body completely stretched out. Smack! I snared Lowen's line drive.
I leapt to my feet and heaved a perfect strike to first base and doubled up the Wallace runner.
At age thirteen, I made my first and last great defensive play of my baseball playing life and it stands in my mind with glacier stream clarity.
We were called Babe Ruth baseball "Thirteen Year Old All-Stars". We weren't really All-Stars. We were just all the thirteen year old Babe Ruth players.
For the first time ever, I played baseball on the same team with guys from Cataldo, Kingston, Pinehurst, Pine Creek, Rose Lake and other spots in western Shoshone County.
I loved it. I got to know Krause and Lesterberg and Twidt and Whitaker and Finley and Taylor and a host of other guys who went to Pinehurst Junior High and who were strangers to me.
This tournament marked one of the last times I felt accomplished as a baseball player.
Not only did I make a diving catch and throw against Wallace, I had a great game against Lewiston #2.
You might not know, if you aren't from North Idaho, that Lewiston was (is?) the Idaho Jerusalem of youth baseball. Playing a Lewiston team felt like playing the Yankees.
Even if it's Lewiston's #2 team.
I used to pull off a little ruse as a batter. I batted left handed and took my warm-up swings as if all I could do was pull hits to the right side of the diamond.
Against Lewiston #2, their defense twice bit on my bait. Their defense shifted to the right when I came to the plate. Both times, I hit long fly balls down the left field line and both times I tripled.
Two triples in one game against a Lewiston team!
We beat Wallace when I dove for the Jerry Lowen smash.
My two triples helped beat Lewiston #2.
We didn't win the double elimination tournament, however. My guess is that Lewiston #1 did, but I can't remember.
What I do remember is that for one tournament, for one three or four day tournament, at the age of thirteen, I felt like a complete baseball player, a good defensive and offensive player.
I cherish the memory.
I never felt so accomplished on the diamond again.