“Diamond of doom!” softball instructor Steven Hercus announced to the girls of 3G and 1G as they chose their gloves out of a large duffel bag. Though it sounded menacing, the “diamond of doom” turned out to be a game in which the campers gathered in the softball diamond and attempted to tag one another’s cleated toes with their softball mitts. Elimination was swift as the girls lunged towards one another’s feet, tagging each other out. To the victor was awarded a ticket as well as the opportunity to bat second. With just three competitors left, two of 3G’s members teamed up to tag 1G’s last representative before turning on one another. Hunter dove for her own assistant counselor Marianna Balaa’s feet, securing 3G’s victory and the ticket reward.
Now warmed up and eager to begin, the girls listened as Mr. Hercus stressed the importance of safety in softball. Beside him, his 3-year old son stood, staring at the campers, with glove on, baseball in hand, and game face ready.
Because 3G won in the “diamond of doom,” they had the honor of fielding first. A rotation was implemented into this year’s pyc softball games, allowing each girl to experience every field position in both the infield and outfield. Raphaella began fielding on the pitcher’s mound while assistant instructor Kathleen Hochstetler threw the actual pitches.
It did not take long for 1G to score their first run. Raphaella caught the next batter’s pop fly and whipped the ball to Lydia who was on first, preventing the first base runner from advancing. 1G did not score any more runs in the first inning, and 3G lined up in their batting positions as 1G took the field.
Jenna was the first of 3G to bat, and she proved her cleats would be big ones to fill when she smacked the ball into right field, earning herself a place on third. “I want it,” said Ariana as she swung. She just clipped the ball, but when she tried again, she got it and hit a double, bringing Jenna home.
Meanwhile, both dorms chanted softball-related rhymes, often including the name of whichever girl was at bat. Summer taught the girls a new chant which even the workers had never heard before.
Mellissa’s hit put her on first base, and Lydia reached home just a fraction of a second before 1G’s catcher could tap the plate. Mellissa ran home, aided by a hard hit by Alyssa’s bat, bringing the score to 4-1 in 3G’s favor.
When 1G’s first baseman caught a ball hit to first, 3G was back in the field. Second baseman Heidi hustled for a grounder, but 1G’s Leah nimbly hopped over her and made it safely to the base. When 3G lined up to bat again, they were five points behind 1G.
When Jenna returned to the batter’s box, the girls watched in anticipation. Two foul balls had the dorm on the edge of their bench. On her third attempt, Jenna delivered with another hard hit to right field, but 1G’s rapid fielding did not allow her to advance past first base. She soon made up the ground, however, when Ariana hit a single into center field.
When 1G’s Ava caught a ball hit straight to first, the third inning began. “Great stop, Lara!” Mr. Hercus praised as she stopped a grounder and kept the first baseman from advancing. 3G proved their skills in the field, and the game quickly transferred to the bottom of third inning.
While the girls transferred from batting to fielding and vice versa, the mini Hercus proved his appreciation for the sport by hugging a bat and spinning in circles before collapsing in a dizzy heap. Near the end of the third inning, Lara hit a ball which brought Alyssa home, making the score 8-11 with 1G still in the lead. The inning ended when 1G’s first baseman, Caitlin, tagged home just before Jenna reached the base. Consequently, the close call caused Jenna to barrel into Caitlin, but both escaped without injury and left the experience with wide smiles.
At the beginning of the last inning, the score was 9-11. 3G needed only three more runs to win. Alyssa stepped up to bat. The bases were loaded. She hit a pop fly which went uncaught, and her pinch runner, Ariana, was able to make it on first while both Heidi and Mellissa ran home.
With no time left for class, the game ended with a tie of 11-11. Due to the lack of time, Mr. Hercus hastily gave Jenna a ticket for her excellent work and sent the girls off to Bible class.