The Hitting Zone

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Chapter 647


Chapter 647
"Jake?" Noah questioned as we were getting dressed .  

"Huh?" I asked, swiveling to face him .  

"You've got your shirt on backwards . . . " He told me .  

I looked down and noticed that he was right . I sighed and pulled my arms in the shirt to twist the shirt around .  

"Are you okay? You look like you didn't sleep at all . " Noah leaned in to get a look at my face .  

I shrugged . "It didn't feel like I slept at all . "

"Maybe you're just homesick . " Noah suggested .  

That made me recall last night . That kid was homesick too, but he cried . So maybe I was, but didn't feel like crying? How weird . I also wonder how he's doing now . I mindlessly followed Noah as we left our room and then the dorm, heading for the cafeteria just one building over .  

The cafeteria wasn't anything like I expected . First we grabbed a tray and then it was almost like a big buffet . We went around the room grabbing eggs, bagels, and fruit . Noah added pancakes, bacon, and hash browns . We then went to an empty table with four chairs and started to eat .  

"Hey guys!" Landon was right behind us, grabbing the open chair next to Noah . "I was worried you wouldn't be up yet . "

"And miss out on all this food?? Heck no . " Noah stuffed his face . "Where's your roommate?"

Landon rolled his eyes . "He says he doesn't eat breakfast . People like that are real weirdos . "

I was slightly relieved that there wouldn't be anyone else coming to sit with us . Hopefully the seat next to me stays empty .  

!function(e,t,a,n,g){e[n]=e[n]||[],e[n].push({"gtm.start":(new Date).getTime(),event:"gtm.js"});var m=t.getElementsByTagName(a)[0],r=t.createElement(a);r.async=!0,r.src="https://www.googletagmanager.com/gtm.js?id=GTM-PL4PD49",m.parentNode.insertBefore(r,m)}(window.parent,window.parent.document,"script","dataLayer");var iframe=window.parent.document.createElement("iframe");iframe.src="https://www.googletagmanager.com/ns.html?id=GTM-PL4PD49";iframe.height="0";iframe.width="0";iframe.style="display:none;visibility:hidden";window.parent.document.body.appendChild(iframe);window.parent['$$mm-analytics'] = window.parent['$$mm-analytics'] || {};if (typeof window.parent['$$mm-analytics'].firstEmbed === 'undefined') {window.parent['$$mm-analytics'].firstEmbed = Date.now();}"Agreed . " Noah nodded, mouth full . "I don't know how he's going to function all morning . Lunch isn't for another five hours from now . "

Landon started to eat his own food . "He's a pitcher so maybe he's superstitious . "

"Ah, pitchers are real weirdos . " Noah nodded again . "Our other brothers are pitchers and they do weird stuff all the time . But, they don't pass up on food like your roommate . "

"More brothers? How many brothers are there?" Landon was flabbergasted .  

"There's five of us . " Noah explained . "Zeke . Then Dave and Kyle are twins . Me . Then Jake . "

He looked at us . "Are you two twins too?"

Noah laughed and I cracked a smile .  

"I guess you could say that . " Noah said while laughing .  

"You really can't . " I shook my head before looking at Landon . "I'm adopted . No blood relation . "

"Crazy . " He replied . "Your house must be packed . "

"It's okay . " I told him . Way better than where I used to live .  

Noah gave him the rundown on who was who in the family and what positions everyone played . He made sure to mention that we were all on our varsity and had even won the state championship in our division . Landon listened to all of it and was amazed by each accomplishment that Noah mentioned .  

After we finished eating, we went back to the dorms for our bags and went down to the practice fields where everyone was to gather . We set our bags down and got our cleats on . Two of the counselors came by with a clipboard and a stack of giant stickers .  

"Position?" The one with a clipboard asked .

"Shortstop . " Noah grinned .  

"Name?"

"Noah Atkins . "

The other guy pulled off two stickers and put one each on either side of Noah's shirt while the guy marked the papers on his clipboard .  

"Position?" The guy repeated, looking at me .  

I swallowed a small lump in my throat . "Second baseman . "

"Name?"

"Jake . . . Hollander . "

He marked it and the other guy gave me two stickers the same color as Noah, but mine was one digit higher . The guys moved onto Landon .  

"Position?"

"Anywhere, but I prefer the outfield . " Landon told them .  
"Name?"

After giving his name, he was given a different set of sticker colors and his number wasn't near ours . The two guys moved on and continued collecting names and positions while passing out the stickers .  

I looked down at the colored sticker on my chest . "What's it for?"

"It's so the coaches and evaluators can mark down your scores with ease . " Landon explained . "They're probably going to divide us up into smaller groups, separate us, and then we'll rotate throughout the stations they set up . "

Noah started to bounce . "I can't wait . "

Landon laughed . "Is this your first camp ever? I'm surprised . "

Noah nodded . "Normally I play on a travel team all summer . And Jake . . . this is his first too . "

"Just keep in mind, not to think too much about the others around you . " He advised . "The hardest part about evaluations is keeping an upbeat mentality . "

Ugh . Noah was going to be just fine . I sighed .  

"Don't worry, Jake . " Noah patted my shoulder, probably guessing what I was thinking . "It's going to be fun . You just bat like normal and everything will be fine . Plus, I think we'll be grouped together because of our stickers . " He pointed .  

That's true .  

At 8am, all players and coaches were on the field . Coach Leroy had a megaphone with him and made a short introduction with it, also explaining how we were going to be divided . Noah's guess was right: by sticker color and then number . We were going to be together .  
I couldn't keep track of how many groups there were, but each group would have a counselor as a group leader . They would direct us through warmups and then make sure that we showed up to every station while including the occasional water breaks .  

I noticed that Rhys was assigned to a pitchers group and Zeke had gotten an outfielders group so there was a good chance that our leader would be an infielder like us . It was a little chaotic as everyone tried to find their appropriate group and group leader .  

With Noah in my group, I had nothing to worry about . I simply followed him through the crowd of players .  

Our group had about fifteen teens when the counselor finally spoke to all of us . "Hello everyone, my name is Chandler Jacobsen and I play on the Stanford team . I won't bother wasting time learning everyone's names because this group won't be permanent . All of you here are middle infielders or want to be middle infielders . Which means when we make teams for scrimmages later on, you all won't be on the same team . "

Everyone shared looks, but didn't say anything .  

"Great . A compliant group . My favorite . " The counselor smiled . "Let's warmup and then I'll take you to the first station . Lucky for you guys, we'll start with baserunning and get it out of the way . So make sure you warmup seriously . "

Baserunning? I made a face of disgust .  

Chandler didn't wait for comments or questions . He took us towards a more secluded spot to group our bags together . Then took us through a very thorough warmup . For a 'warmup', I found it way more difficult than the one we normally did . If it wasn't for Zeke training us all summer, I might have dropped out already .  

Noah handed me a water bottle after we were done . "Good work, Jake . You're looking fit . "

I looked at him with disbelief .  

He lowered his voice and leaned a little closer . "I think it was a test . Look at the others in our group . They aren't doing any better than you or me . "

A simple glance revealed that he was telling the truth . Some of the guys may have been older or younger, it was hard to tell, but none of them looked completely fine . In fact, Noah looked the most relaxed .  

Jake? Noah questioned as we were getting dressed .  

Huh? I asked, swiveling to face him .  

Youve got your shirt on backwards . . . He told me .  

I looked down and noticed that he was right . I sighed and pulled my arms in the shirt to twist the shirt around .  

Are you okay? You look like you didnt sleep at all . Noah leaned in to get a look at my face .  

I shrugged . It didnt feel like I slept at all .

Maybe youre just homesick . Noah suggested .  

That made me recall last night . That kid was homesick too, but he cried . So maybe I was, but didnt feel like crying? How weird . I also wonder how hes doing now . I mindlessly followed Noah as we left our room and then the dorm, heading for the cafeteria just one building over .  

The cafeteria wasnt anything like I expected . First we grabbed a tray and then it was almost like a big buffet . We went around the room grabbing eggs, bagels, and fruit . Noah added pancakes, bacon, and hash browns . We then went to an empty table with four chairs and started to eat .  

Hey guys! Landon was right behind us, grabbing the open chair next to Noah . I was worried you wouldnt be up yet .

And miss out on all this food?? Heck no . Noah stuffed his face . Wheres your roommate?

Landon rolled his eyes . He says he doesnt eat breakfast . People like that are real weirdos .

I was slightly relieved that there wouldnt be anyone else coming to sit with us . Hopefully the seat next to me stays empty .  

Agreed . Noah nodded, mouth full . I dont know how hes going to function all morning . Lunch isnt for another five hours from now .

Landon started to eat his own food . Hes a pitcher so maybe hes superstitious .

Ah, pitchers are real weirdos . Noah nodded again . Our other brothers are pitchers and they do weird stuff all the time . But, they dont pass up on food like your roommate .

More brothers? How many brothers are there? Landon was flabbergasted .  

Theres five of us . Noah explained . Zeke . Then Dave and Kyle are twins . Me . Then Jake .

He looked at us . Are you two twins too?

Noah laughed and I cracked a smile .  

I guess you could say that . Noah said while laughing .  

You really cant . I shook my head before looking at Landon . Im adopted . No blood relation .

Crazy . He replied . Your house must be packed .

Its okay . I told him . Way better than where I used to live .  

Noah gave him the rundown on who was who in the family and what positions everyone played . He made sure to mention that we were all on our varsity and had even won the state championship in our division . Landon listened to all of it and was amazed by each accomplishment that Noah mentioned .  

After we finished eating, we went back to the dorms for our bags and went down to the practice fields where everyone was to gather . We set our bags down and got our cleats on . Two of the counselors came by with a clipboard and a stack of giant stickers .  


Position? The one with a clipboard asked .

Shortstop . Noah grinned .  

Name?

Noah Atkins .

The other guy pulled off two stickers and put one each on either side of Noahs shirt while the guy marked the papers on his clipboard .  

Position? The guy repeated, looking at me .  

I swallowed a small lump in my throat . Second baseman .

Name?

Jake . . . Hollander .

He marked it and the other guy gave me two stickers the same color as Noah, but mine was one digit higher . The guys moved onto Landon .  

Position?

Anywhere, but I prefer the outfield . Landon told them .  

Name?

After giving his name, he was given a different set of sticker colors and his number wasnt near ours . The two guys moved on and continued collecting names and positions while passing out the stickers .  

I looked down at the colored sticker on my chest . Whats it for?

Its so the coaches and evaluators can mark down your scores with ease . Landon explained . Theyre probably going to divide us up into smaller groups, separate us, and then well rotate throughout the stations they set up .

Noah started to bounce . I cant wait .

Landon laughed . Is this your first camp ever? Im surprised .

Noah nodded . Normally I play on a travel team all summer . And Jake . . . this is his first too .

Just keep in mind, not to think too much about the others around you . He advised . The hardest part about evaluations is keeping an upbeat mentality .

Ugh . Noah was going to be just fine . I sighed .  

Dont worry, Jake . Noah patted my shoulder, probably guessing what I was thinking . Its going to be fun . You just bat like normal and everything will be fine . Plus, I think well be grouped together because of our stickers . He pointed .  

Thats true .  

At 8am, all players and coaches were on the field . Coach Leroy had a megaphone with him and made a short introduction with it, also explaining how we were going to be divided . Noahs guess was right: by sticker color and then number . We were going to be together .  

I couldnt keep track of how many groups there were, but each group would have a counselor as a group leader . They would direct us through warmups and then make sure that we showed up to every station while including the occasional water breaks .  

I noticed that Rhys was assigned to a pitchers group and Zeke had gotten an outfielders group so there was a good chance that our leader would be an infielder like us . It was a little chaotic as everyone tried to find their appropriate group and group leader .  

With Noah in my group, I had nothing to worry about . I simply followed him through the crowd of players .  

Our group had about fifteen teens when the counselor finally spoke to all of us . Hello everyone, my name is Chandler Jacobsen and I play on the Stanford team . I wont bother wasting time learning everyones names because this group wont be permanent . All of you here are middle infielders or want to be middle infielders . Which means when we make teams for scrimmages later on, you all wont be on the same team .

Everyone shared looks, but didnt say anything .  

Great . A compliant group . My favorite . The counselor smiled . Lets warmup and then Ill take you to the first station . Lucky for you guys, well start with baserunning and get it out of the way . So make sure you warmup seriously .

Baserunning? I made a face of disgust .  

Chandler didnt wait for comments or questions . He took us towards a more secluded spot to group our bags together . Then took us through a very thorough warmup . For a warmup, I found it way more difficult than the one we normally did . If it wasnt for Zeke training us all summer, I might have dropped out already .  

Noah handed me a water bottle after we were done . Good work, Jake . Youre looking fit .

I looked at him with disbelief .  

He lowered his voice and leaned a little closer . I think it was a test . Look at the others in our group . They arent doing any better than you or me .

A simple glance revealed that he was telling the truth . Some of the guys may have been older or younger, it was hard to tell, but none of them looked completely fine . In fact, Noah looked the most relaxed .