It was slow, unlike the other pitches I threw.
It did not break down and away from him
as I wanted it to. I could see his hips shifting,
his forearm muscles bulging, his eyes focusing
on the ball, belt high, as the fat part of his bat collides with it.
The exploding crack shatters
my sight and rips through my chest.

The ball arcs off his bat
to the sky over left center field.
The outfielders jog a few steps, then end the chase.
I can sense his leaping, celebrating the connection,
pumping his fist before running the bases.

I turn away as the ball
clears the fence, cast my gaze
to the grass as I begin the longest walk to the edge of the field,
seeking shelter in the dugout to flee the teammates I failed
and to hide my despair. I shut out the crowd’s roar,
ignorethe runners touching home plate.

I am devoured by the sore shoulder and the arm that betrayed me.
I fear it has no more pitches to throw.