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My Daughter Came of Age in Disney
The girls had worked real hard. Selling raffle tickets. Participating in hitting contests to raise money. The girls were raising money and improving their skills so they could go to Disney and play in a showcase tournament. They did what they needed to do over the winter of 2006.
It’s the end of March, 2006. The trip to Disney to play in a tournament has finally arrived. My daughter Manteee and her team of Indian Hills Braves from Oakland New Jersey is about to take on a team from Livingston New Jersey. Livingston and Oakland are about 20 miles apart. So what, that we traveled 1500 miles to play each other.
Seems like these girls from Livingston can play, I remember saying to myself. While they practiced I noticed how accurate and strong their throws were. They had a purpose the way they carried themselves.
It is the top of the first inning and Livingston gets a few runners on base. And then there is a hot grounder right at my daughter. She makes an error and Livingston scores the first run of the game. Two batters later with the bases loaded for Livingston, another hot one is hit to my daughter with the same results as the previous ball hit to her. Manteee goes to her right and boots the ball.
As two runners crossed the plate I shifted my attention from my daughter to the coach. He was livid. The first inning ends with Livingston in front 3-0. This was the low point of the trip for my daughter. She did not play again in this game. The coach yanked her and had her sit the bench.
As I watched the game my thoughts were about Manteee. I looked into the dugout to check her out. I was usually blocked by a pole that stood between her and me. When I got a rare glimpse of her, she looked beaten to a pulp. This was a low point to say the least.
Next game had different results. Back at her position at second base my Manteee seemed to be apprehensive about what could happen. She seemed to lack that air of confidence she so often plays with. Her fears and concerns soon subsided. In the first inning another team from New Jersey hit two balls her way. She played them well and threw out both runners.
As the game moved on more balls were hit her way. A dozen chances at least. Maybe two or three hard plays had to be made. She handled all the plays and Indian Hills won the game.
After the game assistant coach Phil Lemenza said. “Sammi is my hero. After playing a horrible game she came back strong.” (My wife and I are the only ones that call her Manteee – everyone else calls her Sammi)
To say I am proud of her is an understatement. She fights; she claws and never gives up. She is my hero as well. That’s why she is one of my top ten favorite players of all time.
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About the Author: The great game of baseball. What could be better? Loving the game of baseball for Aron Wallad has been a job of joy for a long time. For over 45 years he has followed the game by coaching, watching games, reading stories and checking player’s stats. Playing baseball, softball and stickball were his games of choice. Join Aron as he looks at the game from some different points of view. You will find his stories moving. You will be amazed when you see some of the unusual statistics he presents. The quotes will move you or make you laugh.
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