Making the Catch

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In the bottom of the seventh inning, as the score is tied with two outs, you hear the bat meet the ball with a crackling sound. Sending the ball flying through the night air, deep into the outfield. This may be the moment you've been waiting for, or maybe the one you've always dreaded. The preparations and thoughts that go through your head will determine if it's another out or a game costing error.

As you stand with your hands on your knees, watching the swing of the batter before you, you try to calculate which way the ball will be directed on a hit by the timing of the swing and body position of the batter. Once you've made the proper adjustments, it's time to get mentally focused.

Many things race through the head of an outfielder before a ball is hit. Where will it be thrown, are there runners on base, how many outs there are.

After all these, and many other calculations have been made, it's time to focus on the ball that may be coming your way.

As you stand slightly crouched over, with your hands on your knees, you see the ball come off the bat with tremendous power. At first sound, or sight of the ball leaving the bat, your body tenses up, enough to make you stand erect. As the ball travels upward into the night air, it's lost for second. Lost in the dense fog that has slowly crept up onto the playing field, or lost in the lights shining ever so brightly down on the playing surface. The adjustments you make from noticing where the ball was when it disappeared will determine if you make the catch.