Softball at Oak Grove School

Whoever laid out Oak Grove School did not have softball in mind. We had a terrible field. We thought it was fine at the time and just accepted what we had.

The only level spot on the field was the batter’s box. The woodshed acted as the batter’s box. The bases were pieces of firewood that kept moving around. The batter ran downhill to get to first base, a few feet beyond first base was the gravel road that led to Kettle Hollow. Second base was close to the road that led back onto Oak Grove Ridge. A runner ran uphill to get from second base to third base, which was right next to the hand-operated water pump.

The softball diamond was not square. It was diamond-shaped, like on playing cards. The distance from home plate to second base was almost twice the distance as from first to third base.

Oak Grove School owned a bat for the big kids, and a shorter bat one for the little kids. That was twice the number of bats my brothers and I had at home. The bats were stored in the cloakroom. Some kids wore a softball glove, or mitt, but most didn’t and caught the ball bare-handed.

The battle raged. Yelling, cheering, booing, “You’re out,” “No I wasn’t.” The arguing was always short-lived, but included a lot of name-calling. What wondrous times those were!

Sometimes, the teacher would play. Mrs. Ray (well, she was a girl) threw the ball like a girl and swung the bat like a girl, which didn’t seem an efficient way of playing ball.  Mrs. Ray would take a few swings at the ball and designated another kid to run for her. We decided that it was OK for the teacher to have a designated runner. To be continued…….

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