St. Nick's Outlaws
By Jim Colombo
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Copyright 2001 Jim Colombo
It was Friday, May 16, and Prescot was the starting pitcher for St. Nick’s. They
were playing Washington at Washington Park, and if they won today, they would win the
city championship and remain undefeated. St. Nick’s had beaten Washington last year for
the city championship and had beaten them in the first half of the season at Big Wreck.
The intensity was as great as playing S.I. Washington believed that they were the better
team last year and thought they had a chance this year if they beat St. Nick’s today and if
Lincoln beat St. Nick’s the last game of the season.
St. Nick’s school bus arrived at the back of Washington Park. The team entered the
stadium and went to their locker room. The players waited for four o’clock. Coach Meyer
stood on a chair and said, ”All of you know what today’s game is for. I ask one favor
today. Go out there like champions and if we go down, we go down with all oars in the
water. We’re a team. We’re the Fighting Irish!” The players began to yell, Irish... Irish...
Then Duke stood on a chair for the blessing and the players and coach Meyer
gathered around him. “Oh Lord. Look down on us and give us the divine power to kick
Washington’s ass one more time, amen.” Duke believed in being to the point when
`The team yelled, “Amen”.
Brocker wore his lucky socks for the fourteenth week without washing them. They
stood in his locker. “Gees, Brocker, you don’t smell that?” asked Jim.
“It reminds me of anchovies on pizza,” said Brocker with a smile. “At least I change
my shorts each game.”
“Praise the Lord. At the end of the season I’m going to burn those socks,” said Jim.
“If we go undefeated, we should burn all of our socks.”
It was four o’ clock and coach Meyer yelled, “Let’s do it!”
The players ran onto the field and warmed up. Some gathered for batting practice and
others took laps or played catch. Macell sat comfortably in the dugout and saved his
energy. Duke was admiring the Washington cheerleaders and had his eye on a tiny
blonde with big tits.
“I bet she don’t know what it’s like sleeping on her stomach. I bet her face would
never touch the pillow,” said Duke.
“Duke, I bet she got bumps on her forehead from them tits banging her when she
sneezes,” said Brocker.
“Hell, Duke, those ain’t tits, they’re footballs,” said Jim.
“I sure would like to stick my face in the middle and let them bounce on my head.”
Coach Meyer walked over and asked, “What are you guys talking about?”
“The weather, Coach,” said Duke.
“Yeah, it’s a great day for a view. Not a cloud in the sky.,” replied Coach Meyer.
“We were just saying that, Coach,” said Brocker.
The lads continued to watch the cheerleader’s tits bounce and defy gravity. “I bet
you can hang a ten gallon hat on each one of them,” said Duke.
“You’ll never know, Duke,” said Jim.
Brocker took batting practice while Jim and Duke ran a couple of laps. Duke made
sure they ran close to the sexy cheerleader sitting on the other side. He cruised by and to
his horror she had the worst case of zitts, and sat with a short, ugly dork.
“Holy Shit!” said Duke and kicked in the afterburners. Jim followed. When they
returned to the batting cage Brocker asked, “How was it?”
“Brutal. She’s got buckshot on her face and she was holding hands with some
sawed-off shit,” said Duke.
“Duke, you can be down-right mean sometimes,” said Cain.
“No, man. I didn’t say a word to her face. I gave my opinion. If you don’t care for
my opinion, then so be it.”
“And the moral of the story is…?” said Jim, and turned to Duke for the answer.
“The moral of the story is that big tits do not a woman make, but they are sure nice
to rest your head on when watching T.V.”
Jim walked to the batting cage. Brocker asked Cain, “Was he opinionating again?”
“Yeah. He just returned from Mount Sinai,” said Cain.
When it was Duke’s turn to pitch he focused on the game, but the other times when
Prescott pitched Duke was a different person, filled with nervous energy and talked
constantly. By the fourth inning Jim would be the only one sitting with Duke, who would be
finishing his second pack of gum and chattering relentlessly.
When the game started Jim concentrated on baseball. He liked Duke but the
pressure of being undefeated was getting to some of the guys, Duke in particular. Jim
enjoyed the competition. He didn’t have hopes like Duke for a baseball scholarship. Jim
enjoyed playing the game. Baseball is the only game that the offense scores when the
defense has the ball. Baseball was standing in the sunshine on cut grass. The rules were
simple. They throw it. You hit it. They hit it. You catch it. Jim stepped out of the dugout
and said to Lupe, “Wish me good luck.” She sat behind the St. Nick’s dugout wearing his
varsity sweater and stood and said, ”Good luck.”
Chavez stepped up to the plate and the ump yelled, ”Play ball !”
Bobby was on deck and Jim would follow. The Washington pitcher threw fastballs,
a slow curve, and a change up. His pitching style was similar to Prescott, not over-
powering, but efficient in effort. He got the batters to hit the ball and make an out most of
the time. Chavez hit a fly ball to the left fielder for the first out. Bobby came up and hit the
second pitch to the shortstop for the second out. Jim walked to the plate and Brocker was
on deck. Jim made the pitcher work to a full count. The next two pitches were foul tipped
back to the stands. “Hang in there!” yelled Brocker.
Jim choked up on the bat and just wanted to make contact. It was a change up and
Jim smacked it up the middle for a single. The center fielder threw the ball back to the
second baseman. Jim stood on first and clapped his hands. “Let go, Brocker!”
Brocker was looking for a pitch in his zone to crush and waited. It was two balls
and two strikes. The pitcher looked at Brocker. Brocker aimed his bat at the pitcher. The
pitcher sneered at Brocker, almost challenging Brocker to try to hit him. The pitcher
threw a fastball that Brocker crushed straight at the pitcher like a rocket. The pitcher
reacted to protect his face, and caught the ball in defense. Brocker had taken two steps
when the pitcher smiled and said, “Look what I found.” The side was retired and
Washington came to bat.
Prescott walked to the mound and filled the hole that the Washington pitcher had
made when stepping off the rubber. He warmed up with Macell. The Washington batter
walked up to the plate. Macell crouched into his position. Prescott rocked back, kicked up
his left leg, and threw to home. “Strike one !” yelled the ump. Prescott pecked away at the
gray edges of the plate and struck out the side. Macell yelled,” All Right !”
The flow of the game was defense for the next five innings. No one scored, or gone
past second base. Both pitchers were in command of the batters. Prescott had given up
two hits and the Washington pitcher had given up three hits.
When the top of the seventh began Woody could no longer take the tension and
started chanting in Chinese.
“Hey, Woody. Is that a Chinese prayer?” asked Holmes.
“No, man. It’s “Jingle Bells” in Mandarin. I can’t sit and just watch. I’m ready to
explode,” said Woody.
“Why “Jingle Bells” ?” asked Holmes.
“That was the first song the Maryknoll nuns taught us in Hong Kong.”
Holmes and Cain began singing “Jingle Bells” in English with Woody. It was their
rally chant. Brocker stepped up to the plate and could hear singing and looked into the
dugout and saw Woody doing a rain dance. Brocker hit the first pitch for a single. Jensen
followed with another single and Holmes then hit a double, scoring Brocker and Jensen.
Woody stopped dancing and began cheering for Macell and Prescott. They flied out and
Chavez stuck out. The side was retired. It was 2-0 after seven innings.
“Hey, man. You stopped singing when I was at bat,” said Macell.
“Sorry, Macell,” said Woody
When the top of the eighth began, Coach Meyer had Mendez warm up in the
bullpen. “Just in case,” he said to Prescott.
Prescott was a team player and understood the situation. Bobby began the inning
with a walk. Jim bunted and moved Bobby to second. Brocker waited for a pitch that he
could handle. Two balls and one strike, Brocker hit a grounder with eyes that eluded the
third baseman and the short stop. Bobby was on third, Brocker stood on first, and Jensen
stepped up to the plate with one out. He hit the second pitch to the shortstop, who turned
a 6-4-3 double play. The side was retired. .Washington came up in the bottom of the
eighth with new life. They beat up Prescott for six hits and three runs. Mendez replaced
him with the score 3-2 and one out and retired the next two batters.
It was the top of the ninth, three outs left, one run behind, and Holmes came to the
plate. He got a walk. Macell yelled to Woody from the on deck circle, ”Hey, man. start that
Woody began singing ”Jingle Bells” in Mandarin and Macell had new strength when
he saw Woody doing his rain dance again. He hit a soft single and chugged down to first.
Holmes stood on second. Mendez took Brocker’s bat and asked,” You don’t mind?”
“Hell no. It’s got some hits left in it, Mike.”
Coach Meyer called time out and replaced Macell with Woody on first base.
Mendez looked at Coach Meyer for the sign. It was a bunt. Mendez was hoping he could
swing away. He fouled off the first two pitches and looked at coach Meyer. He signaled
Mendez to swing away. A Pitcher would rather swing for the fence and miss than bunt and
strike out. Mendez swung at the next pitch, a change up and hit the ball at the end of
the bat, like a singing bunt. The ball trickled down to first base, who looked surprised and
ran in to field the ball. The first baseman threw to the pitcher who was covering first base
and Mendez was out. When Mendez returned the bat Brocker complimented Mendez's
bunting style, and gave him a nine. Holmes was on third and Woody was on second.
Chavez came up and three pitches later hit a gapper that scored Holmes and Woody. It
was 4-3 St. Nick’s and the Washington coach replaced his starting pitcher. Bobby and Jim
flied out to end the inning. Bottom of the ninth and St. Nick’s was three outs away from a
Washington came roaring back and had men on third and second with two out with
their best hitter stepped up to the plate. Mendez threw fastballs that smoked to home
plate. The batter worked the count to three balls two strikes. Mendez threw three pitches
that were fouled off. Woody played second and began chanting in Chinese again. He
was dancing like a drop of water on a hot skillet. Mendez concentrated on the batter and
ignored Woody. He threw a fastball that the batter slammed back at Mendez and it hit him
in the belly. Mendez saw the ball laying on the ground in front of him and picked it up and
threw to Bobby. Then he collapsed. The game ended and instead of cheers of victory,
there was concern for Mendez. He laid face down on the grass motionless. Coach Meyer
slowly turned Mendez over. He was breathing and his eyes were open. He had the wind
knocked out of him. Mendez had tried to block the ball with his mitt, but he got hit in the
diaphragm. It took a while for him to catch his breath and stand up.
Mendez was sent to the hospital for x-rays. Nothing was broken. He was sore as
hell and had a red bruise on his belly. The doctor gave Mendez some pain pills.
“Can I pitch next week?”
“We’ll see,” said the doctor.
St. Nick’s had won the championship again. The team didn’t celebrate until Mendez
returned to school Tuesday. He was in good spirits. and the baseball championship trophy
was placed alongside the Mahoney trophy during lunch. There was a pep rally celebrating
the two trophies Friday afternoon. Jim and the other players stood in front of the student
body and were cheered for ten minutes. Jim looked around and saw four years of pep
rally memories race by. It was an emotional ten minutes for Jim and Duke. When the
cheering finished the team waved to the student body and returned to their seat.
After school the team went to Remo’s and celebrated the championship.
More next week...