I made myself a schedule so I could prioritize my time but I found myself reading ahead most of the time because I was always anxious and excited to find out what was going to happen next in the book. I enjoyed reading this book because it was mostly around a character that reminded me of myself and because it took me away from some of the stress I was having in the real world. There were not any big parts of the book that needed a change except for that I felt some parts were predictable, otherwise I loved it.
This book is a great sports book that I recommend for middle school kids and teenagers in high school ages I recommend the book to no specific gender, just ones who like reading about sports. If you are a Mike Lupica fan or one who likes reading about sports and sport conflicts, then you will love this book. Mike Lupica is a sports book author and comes out with many great sport stories.
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He starts out as a skilled shortstop, but soon an even more talented 14 year old comes to take over his position and he gets moved second base. The baseball team that Hutch is on is one of the youngest in the state for Legion ball. It is a league for year olds. Hutch's team is made up of two 12 year olds, a handful of 14 year olds and the rest are all 13 years old.
They are on their way to play in the Sectionals if they can beat the last team in their conference. The game is on the line when the batter for the other team hits a grounder to Hutch and he rifles it to first to get the last out and win the game. Hutch is a very solid baseball player, he makes very few errors and has a high batting average. Daryl is also a solid player. He has a higher batting average and makes even fewer errors, but he isn't a good team player. He only plays to become rich and famous and play professional ball someday.
He only cares about himself, not his team.
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Hutch cares more about his team than himself and plays for the love of the game. Every single player on the team votes Hutch as captain except for Daryl, who seems upset that he wasn't chosen to lead the team. Cody, Hutch's best friend, tells Hutch to just ignore Daryl. Cody and Hutch have been best friends as long as they can remember.
They both love baseball although Hutch does so more. They practice all the time, not just in their daily baseball practice.
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Hutch's dad, Carl, also used to love baseball. He was a very good shortstop who lived for baseball and did well in the minor leagues until he had a knee injury. He used his injury as an excuse not to make it into the pros. Later in the book he tells his son that it wasn't his injury that caused him to not make it any further in his career, but the fact that he just wasn't good enough. He is afraid that the same thing is going to happen to Hutch.
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I think that he was very depressed about not making it into the pros and Carl knows that Hutch cares about baseball even more than he did. Carl doesn't talk to Hutch very much as a result and he doesn't come to many of his games because it hurts him to watch. He watches it occasionally on TV while drinking a beer or two. Now the Cardinals, Hutch's team, are playing in the Sectionals. The score isn't even close and the Cardinals are moving on to Regionals. This next game they decide to throw their best pitcher and it is a good thing they did because this team puts up a fight. The score is tied in the ninth inning when Daryl hits a bomb over center with a man on base so they win They are qualified for state!
The State Championship is like a mini World Series. It is best two out of three against a team that is made of mostly 17 and 18 year olds. In the first game it is going very close. Both teams are pitching their best to start and it is a hard matchup. The pitcher for the other team throws an average of 90 miles per hour which is faster than anyone on the Cardinals have seen.
They keep it tied all the way to the bottom of the ninth inning when someone hits a grounder to Hutch and the ball shoots right under his glove, which let the runner on third base score and end the game. The next game is also very close until the ninth inning when Daryl hits a double right after Hutch to drive him in as the winning run. The third game is going the same exact way, tied up and in the ninth.
With two outs and a runner on third base, Hutch's dad yells his name while Hutch is up to bat. Hutch looks over and realizes that his dad is telling him to bunt.
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Hutch thinks it is crazy but decides that he can trust his dad. He lays down a perfect bunt to bring in the last run to win the State Championship. Daryl, who of course, does not like Hutch, congratulates him and is very nice to him. Daryl leaves to give a television interview and become famous. Being on a Little League or Middle League team since I was 4 years old, I was able to relate to all of the issues that the players had to deal with.
There are five main characters and several others. The main character is Hutch. He is a 14 year old boy from Boynton, Florida. He plays for the Cardinals. He absolutely loves baseball and wants to play shortstop in the Big Leagues someday. Unfortunately, he only plays second base under Daryl who took his position. They do not get along well at all because Daryl has a rotten attitude and took Hutch's position. Hutch really wants his dad, who was almost a professional, to play ball with him. He has a good personality and is a nice kid and has a bright future.
Daryl is one of the best players to come out of this area in a while. He is a great player although a bad team player with a poor attitude and he doesn't care about anything except his future in professional baseball. Unlike Hutch, who plays for the love of the game, Daryl plays because it promises him a future. His dad left when he was a baby and he has had a rough life.
Hutch's parents Carl and Connie are good parents who are loved by Hutch. Carl's dreams were shattered when he found out he wasn't good enough to go on to play Major League Baseball. His mom gets both Carl and Hutch through happily. Cody, Hutch's best friend, is always there for Hutch. They have always been best friends and plan to keep it that way, despite the fact that Hutch took his position as second baseman. He now plays in left field.
It was an easy and quick read. Again, I appreciated the fact that the main character was not the star of the team and I feel it is important for children to realize that they do not have to be number one in everything they do. They need to find something they like, give it their all and be true to themselves.
I am in high school and I would recommend it to middle schoolers, because the book is written below the high school reading level. Mar 25, Nile Schuett rated it really liked it. Hutch has always played shortstop for his local baseball team.
His father used to be one of the most famous baseball players in the area and seemed to be on his way to the MLB.