PYC 2017: Thunderclouds Shine on Softball
4G plays its second softball game.

“You should put the caterpillar in the article,” 2G’s Claire said in a joking manner to Mr. Jenkins (who had come to take pictures for this article) and me as we arrived at the softball field. I came to watch the dark gray shirts of 4G play their game; I was not expecting to be welcomed by a fuzzy yellow creature inching away from the noise at a rather brisk pace. Despite the jovial nature of the comment, Mr. Jenkins and I decided to take it seriously. So there you go. The caterpillar is now in the article; note the second picture in the slideshow on top.

The day started out bright with barely any clouds in sight. It was imperative that I apply sunscreen because I would really rather not match the color of my bright red shirt. Everyone seemed to have similar thoughts and applied their own protection as well.

The softball staff turned on the music—a good mix of Disney songs and some older ones from the ‘80s—and then had the girls grab gloves. The girls of 4G – affectionately known as thunderclouds because of their dark gray shirts—headed out to the field between first and second base to participate in the first warm-up game. The head softball instructor, Tyler Verbout, sent grounders to the girls one at a time. Their job was to get the ball and then throw it toward first base where a bucket sat waiting to be hit.

One at a time, they moved forward in the line to have their turn. Hali, thirteen, was the first to hit the bucket with the ball, knocking it over completely, a feat that would not be repeated. The next two to hit the bucket were thirteen-year-old Judi and seventeen-year-old Leah. Sarah, fifteen, threw the ball into the bucket before it bounced out, earning another point and tying their previous record.

After the other team went their turn, earning two points, the girls situated themselves for the next warm up game: a relay. The dorms split into three groups. One went to second base, and the other went far into the outfield. The object of the relay was to send the ball all the way out and all the way back, repeating until everyone had touched the ball at least once. The final person to catch the ball had to touch home plate to stop the clock. The first time the girls did the relay, their time was one minute, seventeen seconds. They shaved ten seconds off on their second attempt, but it didn’t quite beat the record of 58 seconds held by 6G.

Then it was time to see who would have home field advantage for the game. Each dorm had one of their “aunts” visiting to play a game with them: Cathryn Bancroft for 2G, and Aebra Hayes for 4G. They had to put their foreheads on a bat and spin in a circle before racing to second base and back again. The winner would earn the right to play as the home team. Miss Hayes stumbled a bit to the side, and Miss Bancroft tilted into the other direction. By the time they reached home plate again, the dizziness had subsided, and 2G would be fielding first and batting last.

I took a seat on the bench with 4G at the start of the game. Seventeen-year-old Adrienne was the first up to bat. Her first swing missed, but her second swing was a base hit, getting the game off to a good start.

On the bench, the assistant softball instructor, Justice Brown, told us about the difference between girls and boys in the game of softball. A girl’s game is filled with cheering and chants and is honestly the reason I lost my voice every year at camp for a day or two. The boys are more reserved with the chanting part, and their cheering usually consists of very different things. He proceeded to demonstrate by shouting out purportedly impossible or weird things like “ground ball triple,” “that’s a grand salami,” and the nonsensical “yi-yi.” This caused Judi to laugh as she waiting for her turn at bat.

Off to the side, girls would take turns practicing to bat with Mr. Brown. Mr. Jenkins even got some tutoring, and I am now mad at myself for not taking a picture of that [Editor’s note: Pictures exist, and you will never get them.].

In the last inning, the girls were tied five to five, but 2G was last to bat and managed to score one more run for the win.

The girls then lined up and closed their eyes as they sang “take me out to the ball game.” The assistant softball instructors, Callie Cocomise and Alexa Turgeon, broke water balloons over the heads of the girls who would receive tickets. Fourteen-year-old Queeny received the ticket for 4G.

With the game over, I stepped away from the noise at a brisk pace and could hear a new class for 2B and 1B as Mr. Brown’s battle cry sounded once again: “Yi-yi!”