She became a ballplayer, even with one weak wing
Rosin Duck sat in the stands and ate her Cracker Jacks nervously with one wing. It was a long 7th inning stretch, but she would have waited weeks to see the end of this game. Her favorite team, the Webfooted Wonders, were down by one, but the heart of the order was due up.
It was a rally for the ages as the Wonders scored two, but then their rivals hammered back with two of their own. With only one out left in the 9th, the Wonders’ first baseman stepped to the plate with a teammate on first. With an effortless swing, he sent the ball into the stands! The two-run home run ended the game with a victory for the Wonders.
Rosin cheered her heart out, clapping robustly with her full wing and her other one, which was shorter, thinner, and had fewer feathers.
That night, with less begging than she expected, her parents signed her up for Junior Duck Baseball. A few days later, the coach requested a special meeting. Rosin was afraid he was going to suggest she couldn’t play because of her underdeveloped wing. Instead, he wanted to make sure they had a baseball mitt that could fit. He tried several styles until he was satisfied that she would be able to play.
“Very few young ducks have such a great grasp on game strategy as you, Rosin,” he said. “I look forward to having you on the team!”
Rosin made a lot of friends, and many of them had ideas for how she could play a modified version of baseball — batting with one wing, catching and letting someone else throw, throwing and letting someone else catch, or just being a pinch runner. But Rosin was determined to compete on the same playing field!
Practices were a lot of work, but she improved each day. And their team’s games allowed her to test her developing skills in live action! Rosin’s special mitt allowed her to throw and catch with the same wing. In left field, she was an asset with quick feet and an accurate throw. Her goal was to reach home plate with a single bounce by the end of the season… but she wasn’t there yet.
When it came to batting, left-winged batters turned out to be in high demand! Rosin worked everyday on special stretches and strengthening exercises her physical therapist recommended so she could slowly master the functions of batting, even with her small wing. Sometimes she bunted, and sometimes to struck out, but her batting average was improving, peaking at .351 after a hot streak against the Woodducks and the Mighty Loons.
In their team’s final game, their catcher’s uncle showed up to cheer them on, and to everyone’s surprise, it was the star of the Webfooted Wonders: the first baseman himself! Every duck played their heart out, but no one as hard as Rosin.
In the ninth, Rosin’s team was ahead by one with two outs, but their opponents had a duck on first and a power hitter at the plate. Rosin knew that a big hit could tie the game, and a home run would mean a loss. She stretched out her short wing and adjusted her hat. Their pitcher tossed the ball from the mound, and with a crack, the batter connected. The ball was drilled toward her in left field!
Running forward, Rosin gloved the line drive and flipped her wing to shift the mitt for throwing, a maneuver she’d perfected throughout the season. The first runner was just rounding third. Rosin had not yet met her goal of a one-hop toss to home plate, but as she focused on the catcher’s mitt to aim, she saw the hat of the pro Webfooted Wonder cheering her on from the stands. With every ounce of strength, she heaved the ball. It glided through the air silently, tapping the dirt once, then thwacking directly into the outstretched wing of the catcher who tagged the runner. perfect throw!
“You’re out!” called the umpire.
Rosin’s victorious team gathered around to celebrate their fantastic end to an exciting season. They shared milkshakes and — after a group picture — everybody got an autograph from the Webfooted Wonders’ first baseman.
Rosin knew she had made a lifelong memory and was now a dedicated baseball fan for life. “Today, I consider myself the luckiest duck on the face of the earth!”