I was 12 years old, and I was playing in the last Little League game of my life.

Next year, I’d be with the bigger boys, and I’d be playing on a major league sized field; the degree of difficulty significantly increased.

I wanted to make the most of my last Little League game!

I was having a friendly competition with a teammate; we were the two players from our team that made the all-star team that year.  He was better than me; but I hustled…

He told me before the game that he was going to try and hit a home run.  He said he would be swinging for the fences every time up.  He was capable of hitting one out … I was not.  I had a different goal; one more in line with my talent level.  I wanted to reach base safely every time up.

I knew my best chance of getting on base was to bunt.  I was a pretty good bunter.

So my first time at bat, I bunted, for a hit.  Good start.  He struck out, swinging.

My second time up, I again bunted for a hit.  Two for two.  Very good.  He struck out again.

Third time up, yep! I bunted again; and again, safely.  Three for three.  Excellent!  My friend struck out for a third time.  (I think.)

For my last at bat — my last at bat of the game, of the season, and of my Little League career … I decided to go for it.  I was going to adopt his strategy.  No more playing it safe; no more bunting; I was going to swing away!

And swing away I did…

I hit a ground ball to the shortstop.  A typical, innocuous ground ball that, more often than not, even in Little League, translates into an out.

But not today.  Not on my last at bat!

I ran hard.  As hard as I could.

I beat the throw … but was called out!

I could still remember jumping up and down, showing my 12-year-old exasperation (I know what you’re thinking, but no way!  There is no crying in baseball!)

I don’t recall what my friend did in his last at bat.  I’m thinking that if he did in fact hit a home run, I would’ve remembered that, but he just kind of faded from the picture after the injustice perpetrated by that umpire as I was trying to turn my last at bat swinging-away routine ground ball into an infield hit making my last little league game a perfect four-for-four…

The box score read:  3 for 4; 3 bunt singles; and a 6-3 ground out.  No mention of “last at bat, swung away, ran hard, robbed.”

I think on this one I’m going to leave it to you to tease out the lessons.  If there are any.

But there must be some, though; for, otherwise, it just would be even more than a little odd that I remember, from so long ago, so little a thing…

… as my last Little League at bat.