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GRANT STEELE, baseball coach of Blue River “You 'll never make the team--not in ten College, scowled and shook his head in dis- thousand years.” gust as he watched the red-haired recruit A rueful smile appeared on the other's drop a pop-fly in center-field.
good-natured, homely, freckled countenance. The youth, who was garbed in a baggy He presented a grotesque figure in the overwhite uniform with red stripes, had made sized striped uniform, making Grant think a good run for the ball, but had been unable of a huge stick of peppermint candy shrunken to hold it when it fell into his hands.
by the heat. “That 's what wearies me,” said Grant, “Oh, well, I might as well try it awhile “that fellow Anthony Brooks. See him muff longer," said Anthony. "I need the exercise, that? Well, he does it more than half the
you know." time. And you ought to see him bat! If he But he was more disappointed than he barely fouls the ball, it 's as unusual as a home made manifest. From the village of Cooper run for the ordinary man he 's that bad." Center, he had come to prepare for a college
“Why bother about him, then?" inquired course in civil engineering and to help Blue Don Haskell, student-manager of the team, River accumulate athletic honors. He was yawning under the spell of spring. "Tell him fast on his feet and a good high-jumper; so he is n't needed.”
his ambition had a substantial foundation. The coach laughed dryly.
But Blue River dispensed with a track team, “I 've done it several times already, but and as nothing but baseball was available, it 's no use. You think it 's difficult to get Anthony sent home for the uniform worn by the fellows out for practice, but making his fat brother Sam when the latter was this Brooks stay away is one of the biggest catcher for the Cooper Center Invincibles. problems I ever tackled. I like his spirit, Anthony was one of those rare specimens and he'd be a wizard if he could play like- that never had played the national game, like Garvin Newcomb, for instance. Garvin but he bought a guide, studied the rules, and takes things too easy and is after personal reported for practice.
reported for practice. He was disappointed glory, while Brooks works hard; only it 's over his wretched showing, but persistence useless."
was one of his prominent characteristics. When practice was over, the coach stopped Blue River played its first game, however, the red-haired recruit.
without Anthony's assistance, except as an "Brooks, you 're impossible," he said. enthusiastic spectator. He did his bit by the sun.
leading the cheering, and Wilbur Academy across the lake, and bathed the field in a was beaten 11 to 2. Ralph Conlin, in the warm glare that quickly dried the wet spots. pitcher's box, and Garvin Newcomb, on It was noticeable that Anthony Brooks's first base, were easily the stars for Blue River. voice was not among those that acclaimed
Five more teams did Blue River defeat without a set-back, and then came the final Shortly before the game commenced, the struggle of the year, and the most formidable. missing one sauntered on the field, garbed in For Gibson Academy had conquered the his peppermint baseball suit, and it set the same teams as Blue River, and with heavier spectators to laughing. margins, and was boasting that it would “Here, what 's the idea?” called Captain retain the central state championship honors Leverick. “You 're no good on the field; which it had captured for the last three years. we need your voice in the audience."
So that neither team might have an unfair Something like a tear took shape in a advantage, it was agreed to play on neutral corner of Anthony's pale-blue left eye. ground at Wilbur Academy, situated on the “Look here, captain," he pleaded, "I 've shore of Silver Lake.
sat on the bleachers and yelled myself hoarse Blue River enthusiasts had a different at every game this season; and I 'd like to opinion about the outcome of the approach- feel, just once, that I was a member of the ing struggle, but their confidence received a team. Now, why can't I act as a substitute staggering jolt on the day before the game to-day? I can coach on the base-lines." when it became known that three of the The captain conferred with Coach Steele.
"I give it up," said the latter. "The boy's persistence deserves a reward, I guess. But we 'll hope with all our might that he won't be needed in the game.”
The toss of a coin gave Gibson first bat. Conlin was in good form and his curves dazed the first three batters to oppose him.
“Here we go! Let 's win the championship right now!” chirped the cheerful Anthony,
near the first base-line. "THE CATCHER LUNGED FOR THE WIDE BALL.
But Blue River failed to score, although Garvin Newcomb sent a Texas Leaguer to
center-field for a single. In the second regular players had failed in their monthly inning, Winfield, the left-fielder, got to third standings and thus, because of interscholastic base after two men were out, and Hollock, rules, were barred from taking part. The the catcher, who was next at bat, lined the day of the conflict began with a drizzle from ball along the third base-line. The Gibson a gloomy sky, and this did not tend to raise third baseman juggled the ball, then hurled the spirits of the team or its adherents. it home. "Slide!" shrieked Anthony Brooks,
Consequently, it was only a handful of and Winfield slid, while Hollock stood grinloyal backers that accompanied the crippled ning on first. Winfield had scored, but in team aboard the gasolene launch Mayflower. sliding he sustained an injury that forced As the boat proceeded downstream, the him out of the game. The side was retired drizzle subsided, but the sun persisted in when Hollock was caught stealing. hiding behind dark clouds, and a brisk wind “The score looks good, but Winfield's did not augur for a smooth voyage.
Sure enough, a choppy sea had been churned up, and when the party reached Wilbur Academy, Joe Webb was put to bed in the dormitory, suffering from acute seasickness. This caused a vacancy in centerfield, and the only extra player that had been brought along was sent in to stop the gap.
As the opposing teams gathered for practice the sun broke from the confines of a cloudy prison back of Purple Peak, a minia
"THE THROW TO FIRST WAS TOO WIDE FOR THE ture mountain that loomed out of the woods
ANTHONY PUT ALL HIS ENERGY INTO A SPRING
FOR FIRST BASE"
BASEMAN TO REACH"
BOUNDER BARELY GRAZED HIS GLOVE'
accident means that clown Brooks will have In the ninth, Gibson had another rally to play,” Coach Steele growled.
and filled the bases, due to the fact that As most of the Gibson batters were right- Conlin's arm suddenly had gone lame, de
priving him of his customary speed. But the Blue River pitcher remained cool, and, while every throw made him wince, served the balls red-hot, causing three men to fan.
“I 'm just about all in,” Conlin confessed to Steele. “Every ball seems to tear my arm out of the socket. We 'll have to win right now, because I could n't last through an extra inning if we should tie the score."
Newcomb started the last half of the ninth with an electrifying three-bagger that gave the Blue River crowd new courage.
When Henry singled and Newcomb raced across the
plate with the tying run, the roar from those "THIRD BASEMAN JACOBS LEAPED HIGH, BUT THE
few loyal backers frightened the chirping birds from the near-by trees, and even a
brindle cow, grazing and dozing in a meadow, handed, right-field was deemed the safest cocked her ears forward and took an interest place for the youth in the peppermint uni- in life. form, and Henry, who usually played that It seemed that the shouting of Newcomb's position, was transferred to left.
name never would cease, and the enthusiasm No further runs were made until the fourth did not subside in the least when Henry was inning, when Gibson staged a batting rally caught trying to steal second. and brought two men across the plate, giving The impossible Anthony fairly quaked as them a lead of one. Newcomb was first to he stood up to the plate. His legs were bat for Blue River, and he got a handsome shaking, but the baggy trousers effectively two-bagger, advancing to third on Henry's concealed this manifestation of panic. sacrifice. Then Anthony Brooks walked to The Gibson spectators hooted and laughed, the plate with a heavy club.
while the Blue Riverites, though somewhat Determined to “play the game,” Anthony tamed when they recognized the batter, did stood with bat poised and had the satisfac- their best to lend encouragement. tion of hearing two balls called. The next Coach Steele and Captain Leverick contwo deceived him, however, and he swung soled each other over their inability to use a too late, while on the third strike he slashed far above the sphere.
With a spurt, he headed for first base, heedless of jeering laughter. The Gibson catcher had clung to the ball, so Anthony's effort was useless, and Blue River's chances in the fourth ended when the next batter lifted a fly to left-field.
In the sixth, Anthony repeated the performance, running on the third strike, but
"OVER SECOND HE RUSHED, WITH NO LET-UP again the back-stop caught the ball.
Out in the field, the red-haired substitute pinch hitter, there being no substitute to was anxious for an opportunity, while at the serve in that capacity. same time apprehensive of the result; and in At the first ball, Anthony swung and the seventh it came. With two men out, a missed by more than a foot. Then he obGibson batter hit to short right. Anthony tained a grip on himself and waited while fairly flew over the ground, and, bending two balls and a strike were called. He would over as he ran, got his hands on the ball- have given a year of life to crack the sphere only to let it drop, and it rolled stupidly far beyond the reach of any Gibson fielder, away, while the Gibson man reached first. not for the glory it would bring, but because Fortunately, the batter who followed was he wanted his team to triumph. thrown out on a weak grounder.
Grinning confidently, disdainfully, Smoot,
IN HIS GAIT"
the Gibson pitcher, tied himself in a knot, shrieked at him, but he had no idea what drew back his arm and brought it forward. they said, nor did he care. The youth from The ball must have slipped as he let it loose, Cooper Center was a wild man on a rampage, for it was wide of the plate by twelve inches. and there was no stopping him. Hesitating only an instant, Anthony reached At the edge of right-field two players were out with his stick, flourished it wildly, dropped groping madly in tall grass, and finally the
, it, and put all his energy into a spring for first baseman uncovered the ball. He shot first base.
it toward third, but the distance was too The Gibson catcher had felt certain An- great for his arm, trained for short throws, thony would run on the third strike, and the and the sphere bounded just beyond reach knowledge made him nervous. He lunged of the short-stop. Third baseman Jacobs for the wide ball, but it rolled behind him leaped high, but the bounder barely grazed after striking the end of his mitt. Desper- his glove. The left-fielder was after it, and ately he wheeled about and pawed for the presently placed his hand on it. He made sphere, while his other hand jerked the mask an accurate throw for the plate, but Anthony from his face. He located the ball, seized it, Brooks, runner extraordinary, had crossed dropped it, picked it up again, and hurled it it just one second before. toward first. But Anthony Brooks, swift The crowd was hushed, astounded, paraon his feet, already was there.
lyzed; but the silence was shattered by a warMoreover, the throw to first was too wide whoop from Coach Steele, who leaped two for the baseman to reach, although he made feet into the air and roared: a heroic effort. Anthony saw what had “What 's the matter with Brooks?” happened, and he did not pause. With The answer came in a swelling boom that
PAROIDICHEL "'I MIGHT AS WELL TRY IT AWHILE LONGER,' SAID ANTHONY. 'I NEED THE EXERCISE, YOU KNOW (PAGE 563) amazing speed, he ate the distance between went reverberating out across Silver Lake first and second, and over the latter bag he and was flung back by Purple Peak. rushed, with no let-up in his gait.
By this The coach looked for Anthony and spied time he had lost track of the ball. Coaches the peppermint suit going through the gate. "Hey, you, Brooks!" roared Grant. “What do you mean-sneaking off like this?''
Anthony turned a face in which joy was shining, tempered by a tinge of bitterness.
"What 's the use of staying to be made a fuss over?” he asked. “Blue River won, and that's what counts. Do you think I want to ride on the shoulders of a lot of excited fellows just because I made a score? Besides, how did I do it-by striking out! We won, and I 'm glad, but I don't deserve any credit. As a baseball player, I 'm a failure."
The coach seized him roughly by the arm.
“Look here, boy, you won that battleby playing the game for all it was worth. You struck out, but I'm pretty certain you deliberately fanned at that wild one with the intention of bothering the catcher and making him miss it. Maybe you've failed as a baseball player, but you come out for football in the fall and we'll make a halfback out of you that will cause the whole State to sit up and take notice. Boy, how you can run!”
“THERE must be some other way!" Margaret just as they did when I tipped the tomato Arnot's voice was quiet, but determined. soup into Sally Brooke's lap." “There must be some other way!"
Dr. Arnot smiled. She hesitated a moment as she saw the "It may seem funny now, but the agony perplexed look on her father's face, but went I've suffered won't pay for my education.” on bravely.
Margaret drew her cushion nearer her father "I can't go back to the 'U' next semester, as they sat in their favorite places before the even if my life depends upon it. There must fireplace. “Please let me stay home with be something I can do besides waiting on the you, Daddy.' table. It is a hopeless task. They could "You 're not a quitter, little daughter. n't make a waitress out of me no matter how You would n't give up your work now, even hard they tried.”
if you could.” “It is more difficult for you than I had "I'd do anything to get away from that thought,” admitted Dr. Arnot, as he looked grinning mob; but even you don't want into the dark, appealing eyes of his pretty 'Butter-fingers' around. Yes, that is what daughter.
they call me. Don't look so astonished. "The very sight of the dining-room makes I guess I've earned the title. The minute I me tremble. When I close my eyes at night take up a plate, my hands begin to shake. I see all those grinning faces staring at me, If it happens to have peas or boiled potatoes