My Thirteenth Season

( 4 )

Overview

Fran Cullers is having a horrible summer. She was a star player on the Little League team in her old town, so the Highwater Hardwares should be thrilled to have her—except that they hate girls. Fran can run rings around these guys, but they won’t even give her a chance. So she sets out to teach them a lesson. But Fran finds out that vengeance is a dangerous thing. Her best friend stops talking to her. Her childhood hero gives up on her. And Fran, who has already faced some terrible losses, is about to lose the ...

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My Thirteenth Season

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Overview

Fran Cullers is having a horrible summer. She was a star player on the Little League team in her old town, so the Highwater Hardwares should be thrilled to have her—except that they hate girls. Fran can run rings around these guys, but they won’t even give her a chance. So she sets out to teach them a lesson. But Fran finds out that vengeance is a dangerous thing. Her best friend stops talking to her. Her childhood hero gives up on her. And Fran, who has already faced some terrible losses, is about to lose the most important thing in her life forever—baseball. Can she pull her game together before it’s too late?

Already downhearted due to the loss of her mother and her father's overwhelming grief, thirteen-year-old Fran decides to give up her dream of becoming the first female in professional baseball after a coach attacks her just for being a girl.

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Editorial Reviews

VOYA
Thirteen-year-old Franny Cullers's fantasy baseball team, the Cullers Classic All Stars, includes baseball's best players ever-Mantle, Robinson, Gehrig-but even these superstars could not help her. Her mother died last year, she and her father live with Aunt Beth, and her father is depressed. Formerly her little league coach, he now shows little interest. And Franny's little league teammates hate girls. Despite her being the best player, they do not want her. When Coach Foster teaches them how to be hit by a pitch, he makes an example of Fran by throwing pitch after rapid-fire pitch at her. She hits every one but the next day has "the flinches" whenever her best friend, Steve, pitches to her, so she quits the team. Her plan to be the first female professional baseball player is falling apart. When her teammates, minus fired Coach Foster, ask her help in defeating the feared Foursquare Flyers, Fran hesitates. And who will coach the team? Predictable? Definitely. Easy reading? Absolutely. Add "The Three Most Popular Girls in Junior High" (cheerleaders) and an eye-catching cover and the result is a perfect middle school late-summer beach read. A nice little book, it presents a girl excelling in a "man's" sport. One likes Fran and Steve and dislikes her narrow-minded teammates. But the reader knows that they will come around, dad will wake up, and all will be right with the world. This one might be the book to get reluctant readers reading. Definitely pitch it to them (no pun intended). Middle school and public libraries should own and display this book. VOYA CODES: 4Q 4P M (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8).2005, Henry Holt, 160p., Ages 11 to 14.
—Ed Goldberg
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8-After moving to a new town, star baseball player Fran Cullers discovers that she is not welcome on the boys' team. Her father's grief over her mother's recent death prevents him from being much support or help. Although the coach is removed from the team for his abuse toward her, Fran is badly shaken and falls into a slump. She decides to give up the game, but finds that living without baseball is like living without her mom. In a fairly believable plot development, her one friend, Steven, and the Hardwares come to get Fran for an important game. Her dad rallies and coaches the Hardwares in a game in which Fran is back to her old form. Finally, it seems as though they will be able to resume their lives and share their love of baseball. The Cullers' Classic All Stars, Franny's dream team of all-time baseball greats whom she imagines talk to her, adds a touch of magical realism. The passion for baseball is an effective addition to this story about grieving over the death of wife and mother, and the supporting cast is effectively developed. Baseball terminology and names of some current players and many Hall of Famers add color to the story, but will be lost on those unfamiliar with the sport. Fran's development into a baseball player with heart makes the novel an interesting addition to fiction collections.-Debbie Stewart Hoskins, Grand Rapids Public Library, MI Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Fran and her father had a close relationship that revolved around their mutual love of baseball. When Fran's mother died, her father withdrew into a grief so encompassing that she felt she had lost him as well. She's now on a team with a bitter, cruel coach who hates having to coach a girl. Her teammates taunt her and she's ready to quit. In a frightening, surreal incident, the coach actually tries to injure her. Although there are people in her life who would help her, she's reluctant to accept their support, instead withdrawing into a fantasy life or opting for actions that make the situations worse. Fran is a complex character and the plot is intense and well constructed. The conclusion hits just the right note, allowing new happiness and the promise of more. (Fiction. 10-14)
From the Publisher
“[A] perfect middle school late-summer beach read. A nice little book, it presents a girl excelling in a ‘man’s’ sport. . . . This one might be the book to get reluctant readers reading. Definitely pitch it to them (no pun intended). Middle school and public libraries should own and display this book.”—Voice of Youth Advocates

“The passion for baseball is an effective addition to this story about grieving over the death of wife and mother, and the supporting cast is effectively developed. Baseball terminology and names of some current players and many Hall of Famers add color to the story. . . . Fran’s development into a baseball player with heart makes the novel an interesting addition to fiction collections.”—School Library Journal

“Fran is a complex character and the plot is intense and well constructed. The conclusion hits just the right note, allowing new happiness and the promise of more.”—Kirkus Reviews

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312602420
  • Publisher: Square Fish
  • Publication date: 3/2/2010
  • Edition description: STRIPPABLE
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 160
  • Sales rank: 1,161,424
  • Age range: 10 - 13 Years
  • Lexile: 730L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 7.72 (w) x 5.26 (h) x 0.44 (d)

Meet the Author

KRISTI ROBERTS grew up in Lake Oswego, Oregon, where her dad coached a Little League team. She lives in Greenwich Village in New York City with a dog, a cat, and two pet mice.

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Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

“Girl germs,” Billy Smythe sneered. It was a kindergarten taunt, just plain dumb, but his buddies snickered as Billy pulled a bandana out of his back pocket and made a big show of wiping down the bat I had just dropped.

I pulled my cap lower over my forehead and gave Billy my best Evil Eye. He gave me one back.

“Don’t count on a career in comedy, Smythe,” I said.

Billy sneered at me again. Touching his right nostril with his upper lip was his favorite thing to do with his face. But I’d rattled him. Our pitcher tossed a ball so easy it might as well have been underhand; Billy swung. Missed.

“Good! Swing! Billy!” puffed MacKenzie Wheeler, Tiffany Daniels, and Selena Jones, the Three Most Popular Girls in Junior High, as they swung their legs in a complicated cheerleading kick.

“Nice form, kid,” said Coach Foster.

“Did you consider hitting the ball?” I asked.

The coach glowered at me. Billy shot me a look full of razors and knives, and the rest of the team discussed assassination.

I’d been putting up with this abuse for a solid month now. My father and I had moved over to South Highwater last fall, but I’d missed Junior League registration (this town was a little old-fashioned—the information didn’t go out to girls). By the time I signed up, the only spot left was on the Highwater Hardwares. At school I heard rumors. The coach was a badass. Kids would play for a few weeks and then quit. The ones who stayed were there because their truant officers made them.

So I figured they’d be thrilled to have me. I had two Golden Gloves and a spot on last year’s Willamette League All Stars team to prove my ability. But the coach took one look at my sandy hair and my braids and screamed, “Over my dead body!” It took a personal visit from the county sheriff to convince Coach Ronald Foster that there was a girl on his team.

Nothing could be as hard as what I’d gone through lately, though, so I was optimistic. Sure, I trash-talked Billy, but I was going to prove myself to these guys. For three straight weeks I’d been playing my all-time personal best. Two days ago I had three hits and five RBIs. Still . . . no high-fives, not one slap on the back, not even a faint “whoopee” from the dugout. They only had eight players; still they didn’t want me.

One thing kept me psyched: Steven Chauppette, my best friend from third grade was on the team. He’d moved to L.A. two years ago, but this spring, after his parents’ divorce, he and his mother had moved back and settled in South Highwater. With all that unpacking, Steven had missed registration and got stuck on the Hardwares, too. Every time I got discouraged, he was there with a thumbs-up and a smile. He’d walk me home and we’d swap memories about our old team, the Rosewood Grocery Baggers. He said not to worry, the Hardwares were good guys, really, and if I kept on playing so well they’d have to accept me.

But that didn’t happen. Today was proof.

“Coach, I have some team business.” A big kid called Mozzie Meeker struggled across the field towards our pre-game warm-up, waving his hand in the air. Little Blast Neukum hustled along beside him.

Hootie held his pitch and Billy settled the bat on his shoulder. Coach Foster nodded. “What’s up, son?”

Mozzie wriggled happily. He was a soft, flabby kid nick named for his high-pitched, whining mosquito’s voice. “Well, Coach, I was reading the Highwater Junior League Manual last night, and there’s a rule in there that says all members of any team must wear an athletic supporter.”

Foster looked mystified. “Yes,” he agreed. “Are you asking for an inspection, Moz? I think I can trust you boys to know what to put on under your pants.”

Blast snickered. “Oh, you can trust us boys.”

I shot Steven a look. He gazed at Mozzie and Blast, perplexed.

“Oh . . . I see,” Foster said. “I guess what you boys are trying to tell me is that some members of this team—” and here he turned to smile at me for the first time, ever, “—may not be complying with the letter of Highwater Junior League laws and by-laws. Is that correct?”

“Yeeeeee . . . yeeeee . . . .” Mozzie couldn’t even squeeze out a “yes.” Blast collapsed onto Mozzie’s arm and hung there, weak with laughter.

Then I got it. They wanted me to wear one. The hinge on my jaw failed.

“Hey,” Steven said. “That’s not fair!”

Coach Foster smiled. “Sure it is. Rules is rules, kids. Fran Cullers, if you aren’t dressed completely and fully in the uniform required by league rules, I’m afraid that we won’t be able to let you continue to play. Unfortunately, we’ll have to scratch you from the lineup today.” He withdrew the score book from under his arm with a flourish and pulled the pencil from behind his ear.

Billy waved farewell with his bandana.

“I demand to . . . ,” I started. But I couldn’t demand to see the rule book. I knew it from cover to cover. There was a clause requiring an athletic supporter for every team member, but naturally—I mean, considering nature—I thought I was excluded.

It was going to be a long, discouraging summer.

“Okay, so I’ll wear one,” I said, my voice sour. Coach Foster looked disappointed until Billy said, “Gee, Fran, I can’t let you borrow mine. It’s being used. Any of you guys want to lend Fran your jock strap?”

One boy was so overcome he started to hiccup. Two more crumbled to the ground beside Blast, who was now so weak he was lying on the grass laughing. Quoc Nguyen covered his mouth and giggled.

In any other league I would have had the last laugh, because without nine players the Hardwares would have to forfeit. But South Highwater rules let us borrow a player from the other team. He’d be their worst, some guy the Kernels would be happy to dump on us. But just because I’m a girl, the Hardwares would rather have him than me.

“I demand proof that every guy here is wearing a jock strap himself!” I yelled.

“I’ll vouch for the team,” Foster said, grinning.

Visible proof!” I insisted, but it was useless. I threw down my mitt. Then I pulled off my hat and threw that down, too. I glared at Billy, before roasting Mozzie with a long, burning stare.

“EEEEeeeeeeeee.” He still couldn’t catch his breath.

I stalked away across the diamond. “Hey, it’s our turn to warm up,” complained the pitcher for the Karson Kernels, but I pushed past him. The center fielder stood aside as I marched across the outfield; it wasn’t until I reached the parking lot that the Hardware’s hooting and giggling and gargling and snuffling faded behind me.

I turned the corner of the junior high school and started to run. Down Bryant Avenue to Alder. Down Alder to Division. I smoked around the corner of Center and flamed down the sidewalk, straight through the open door of Davidson Drugs and Sundries.

“Afternoon.” Grey Davidson, old Mr. Davidson’s handsome teenage son, glanced up from the magazine he was reading. He looked at my flushed face. “Can I help you, miss?”

“No,” I choked. “I’m just here to buy something. Something, uh . . . for my brother.” Grey looked at me expectantly. Oh no! I thought, now he’ll want to know if he knows my brother! “Uh, my little brother.” Grey nodded and smiled. “So I’m going to go look at the boy’s stuff,” I said. “Is that okay?”

His green eyes, hedged with thick lashes, stared at me.

“Like, men’s . . . well . . . boy’s . . . underwear.”

“Sure, kid. Aisle six. Towards the back.” He looked down at his magazine. I stood watching him, trying to catch my breath. Grey looked up again. “You’re here to buy, we’re here to sell,” he said, and smiled. “Store motto.”

“Okay.” I walked down the candy aisle and pretended to shop for M&Ms. When I peeked up at him, Grey smiled.

The bell on the front door tinkled. Someone walked in and Grey turned to help. I hurried down the aisle and tiptoed along the back of the store, turned down aisle six and hustled past fields of women’s panties. I sidled over the border into the men’s section. I wasn’t sure what a jock strap looked like, but I was fairly certain I’d know it when I saw it. On the shelf under the briefs and boxer shorts, kind of hidden away-there they were. Small, medium, and large.

I snatched a package from the shelf. Now I was going to die. I crawled up to the front of the store and slid the package onto the counter.

“Your brother’s in Little League?” Grey asked, looking at my uniform.

“Yeah,” I lied.

“And you’re . . . .?”

“Thirteen. I’m in Junior League,” I said, pulling a five-dollar bill out of my pocket; I didn’t dare look up.

“That’s cool,” Grey said and handed me my change. “Go get ’em, kid.”

I bounded out the door and rocketed back to the field. Top of the first, I figured, seeing George Andrews at bat.

“I asked for extra-large but they said there wasn’t a guy in this town man enough to need one,” I snarled as I pulled the jock strap from the bag and waved it at Coach Foster. I was so mad I bit into the package and ripped the plastic off with my teeth; a piece stuck to my tongue. I walked over to the trash can and spit it in. Billy glared at me from second and Mozzie frowned at me from the dugout. Steven was on first, blushing.

“Eye on the pitch,” Foster reminded George, and then he turned and looked me up and down with his killer’s eyes. “You’re up next, Cullers,” he said. “And you’d better be wearing that thing.”

“Oh good,” Billy shouted. “Put it on, Fran!”

“Wearing it,” Coach Foster warned grimly as Mozzie struck out. I strode towards the batter’s box, dangling the cup from its elastic straps in front of me. Halfway to the plate I stopped, turned, and smiled at Foster. I felt like I had in third grade when some kid dared me to peek into the boys’ bathroom and I’d surprised a fifth grader zipping up his pants—like an outlaw.

“What’s going on?” a bewildered Karson Kernel asked behind me.

“Hey, Coach?” I asked. “How do you put this on?”

He glared at me. “Quit holding up the damn game, Cullers.”

The umpire looked sympathetic. “Well kid,” he said, “put your right leg through one loop and your left leg through the other loop and hike the whole affair up around your waist.”

“Oh, c’mon,” Steven’s mother yelled from the bleachers, but everyone ignored her. The Karson Kernels were laughing now, too.

“Fran, Fran, Fran,” Billy sighed. “Now you’ll never get a date.”

“Is this all it takes?” I asked Foster as I lifted the strap behind my head and wound it around my pony tail. I wouldn’t let him take baseball away from me. Life had thrown me some real beanballs lately-fired them straight at my head. Baseball was the one thing I had left.

“Fran . . . ,” Foster warned.

I tied the elastic securely in a big bow, then jammed a batting helmet down over my hair. “Wearing it!”

“That’s not what the rules say!” Foster bellowed.

“The strap is on her body,” the ump said. “Looks legal to me.”

Foster shook the wire backstop in frustration.

“What’s the count?” I asked.

“One out, man on first and second,” the ump said.

I surveyed the Kernels. I knew their pitcher from last year’s state All Stars team; he had no tricks up his sleeve, just a hard straight fast ball. It’d be easy to drive Billy in from second.

But he’d had his chance. He and the Hardwares—they blew it.

I hailed the third baseman. “Ready?” I called. “This one’s yours.” He stared at me suspiciously. I stepped to the plate and shot him another smile. “I’m serious, get ready now.” He still didn’t believe me and almost didn’t catch the easy grounder I smacked his way. He woke up just in time to tag Billy out.

“Now throw it to first!” I suggested. The Karson Kernels stared at me in open-mouthed confusion as I inched in slow-mo towards first base.

Then the pitcher got it. “Double-play!” he screamed at the third baseman. “She’s giving it to us! Throw the ball, man!”

“Franny! What are you doing, Franny?” Steven wailed.

I was destroying the Highwater Hardwares, that’s what.

Excerpted from MY 13TH SEASON by Kristi Roberts.

Copyright © 2005 by Kristi Roberts.

Published in 2010 by Square Fish.

All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and reproduction is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in any manner or medium must be secured from the Publisher.

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First Chapter

CHAPTER ONE

"Girl germs," Billy Smythe sneered. It was a kindergarten taunt, just plain dumb, but his buddies snickered as Billy pulled a bandana out of his back pocket and made a big show of wiping down the bat I had just dropped.

I pulled my cap lower over my forehead and gave Billy my best Evil Eye. He gave me one back.

"Don't count on a career in comedy, Smythe," I said.

Billy sneered at me again. Touching his right nostril with his upper lip was his favorite thing to do with his face. But I'd rattled him-our pitcher tossed a ball so easy it might as well have been underhand; Billy swung. Missed.

"Good! Swing! Billy!" puffed MacKenzie Wheeler, Tiffany Daniels, and Selena Jones, the Three Most Popular Girls in Junior High, as they swung their legs in a complicated cheerleading kick.

"Nice form, kid," said Coach Foster.

"Did you consider hitting the ball?" I asked.

The coach glowered at me. Billy shot me a look full of razors and knives. The rest of the team discussed assassination. Again.

I'd been putting up with this abuse for a solid month now. My father and I had moved over to South Highwater last fall, but I'd missed Junior League registration (this town was a little old-fashioned-the information didn't go out to girls). By the time I signed up, the only spot left was on the Highwater Hardwares. At school I heard rumors. The coach was a bad ass. Kids would play for a few weeks and then quit. The ones who stayed were there because their truant officers made them.

So I figured they'd be thrilled to have me. I had two Golden Gloves and a spot on last year's Willamette League All Stars team to prove my ability.But the coach took one look at my sandy hair and my braids and screamed, "Over my dead body!" It took a personal visit from the county sheriff to convince Coach Ronald Foster that there was a girl on his team.

Nothing could be as hard as what I'd gone through lately, though, so I was optimistic. Sure, I trash-talked Billy, but I was going to prove myself to these guys. For three straight weeks I'd been playing my all-time personal best. Two days ago I had three hits and five RBIs. Still . . . no high-fives, not one slap on the back, not even a faint "whoopee" from the dugout. They only had eight players, but still they didn't want me.

One thing kept me psyched: Steven Chauppette, my best friend from third grade was on the team. He'd moved to L.A. two years ago, but this spring, after his parents' divorce, he and his mother had moved back and settled in South Highwater. With all that unpacking, Steven had missed registration and got stuck on the Hardwares, too. Every time I got discouraged, he was there with a thumbs up and a smile. He'd walk me home and we'd swap memories about our old team, the Rosewood Grocery Baggers. He said not to worry, the Hardwares were good guys, really, and if I kept on playing so well they'd have to accept me.

But that didn't happen. Today was proof.

"Coach, I have some team business." A big kid called Mozzie Meeker struggled across the field towards our pre-game warm up, waving his hand in the air. Little Blast Neukum hustled along beside him.

Hootie held his pitch and Billy settled the bat on his shoulder. Coach Foster nodded. "What's up, son?"

Mozzie wriggled happily. He was a soft, flabby kid nick named for his high-pitched, whining mosquito's voice. "Well, Coach, I was reading the Highwater Junior League Manual last night, and there's a rule in there that says all members of any team must wear an athletic supporter."

Foster looked mystified. "Yes," he agreed. "Are you asking for an inspection, Moz? I think I can trust you boys to know what to put on under your pants."


Blast snickered. "Oh, you can trust us boys."

I shot Steven a look. He gazed at Mozzie and Blast, perplexed.

"Oh . . . I see," Foster said. "I guess what you boys are trying to tell me is that some members of this team-" and here he turned to smile at me for the first time, ever, "-may not be complying with the letter of Highwater Junior League laws and by-laws. Is that correct?"

"Yeeeeee . . . yeeeee . . . ." Mozzie couldn't even squeeze out a "yes." Blast collapsed onto Mozzie's arm and hung there, weak with laughter.

Then I got it. They wanted me to wear one. The hinge on my jaw failed.

"Hey," Steven said. "That's not fair!"

Coach Foster smiled. "Sure it is. Rules is rules, kids. Fran Cullers, if you aren't dressed completely and fully in the uniform required by league rules, I'm afraid that we won't be able to let you continue to play. Unfortunately, we'll have to scratch you from the lineup today." He withdrew the score book from under his arm with a flourish and pulled the pencil from behind his ear.

Billy waved farewell with his bandana.

"I demand to . . . ." I started. But I couldn't demand to see the rule book. I knew it from cover to cover. There was a clause requiring an athletic supporter for every team member, but naturally-I mean, considering nature-I thought I was excluded.

It was going to be a long, discouraging summer.

"Okay, so I'll wear one," I said, my voice sour. Coach Foster looked disappointed until Billy said, "Gee, Fran, I can't let you borrow mine. It's being used. Any of you guys want to lend Fran your jock strap?"

One boy was so overcome he started to hiccup. Two more crumbled to the ground beside Blast, who was now so weak he was lying on the grass laughing. Quoc Nguyen covered his mouth and giggled.

In any other league I would have had the last laugh, because without nine players the Hardwares would have to forfeit. But South Highwater rules let us borrow a player from the other team. He'd be their worst, some guy the Kernels would be happy to dump on us. But just because I'm a girl, the Hardwares would rather have him than me.

"I demand proof that every guy here is wearing a jock strap himself!" I yelled.

"I'll vouch for the team," Foster said, grinning.

"Visible proof!" I insisted, but it was useless. I threw down my mitt. Then I pulled off my hat and threw that down, too. I glared at Billy, before roasting Mozzie with a long, burning stare.

"EEEEeeeeeeeee." He still couldn't catch his breath.

I stalked away across the diamond. "Hey, it's our turn to warm up," complained the pitcher for the Karson Kernels, but I pushed past him. The center fielder stood aside as I marched across the outfield; it wasn't until I reached the parking lot that the Hardware's hooting and giggling and gargling and snuffling faded behind me.

I turned the corner of the junior high school and started to run. Down Bryant Avenue to Alder. Down Alder to Division. I smoked around the corner of Center and flamed down the sidewalk, straight through the open door of Davidson Drugs and Sundries.

"Afternoon." Grey Davidson, old Mr. Davidson's handsome teenage son, glanced up from the magazine he was reading. He looked at my flushed face. "Can I help you, Miss?"

"No," I choked. "I'm just here to buy something. Something, uh . . . for my brother." Grey looked at me expectantly. Oh no! I thought, now he'll want to know if he knows my brother! "Uh, my little brother." Grey nodded and smiled. "So I'm going to go look at the boy's stuff," I said. "Is that okay?"

His green eyes, hedged with thick lashes, stared at me.

"Like, men's . . . well . . . boy's . . . underwear."

"Sure, kid. Aisle six. Towards the back." He looked down at his magazine. I stood watching him, trying to catch my breath. Grey looked up again. "You're here to buy, we're here to sell," he said, and smiled. "Store motto."

"Okay." I walked down the candy aisle and pretended to shop for M&Ms. When I peeked up at him, Grey smiled.

The bell on the front door tinkled. Someone walked in and Grey turned to help. I hurried down the aisle and tiptoed along the back of the store, turned down aisle six and hustled past fields of women's panties. I sidled over the border into the men's section. I wasn't sure what a jock strap looked like, but I was fairly certain I'd know it when I saw it. On the shelf under the briefs and boxer shorts, kind of hidden away-there they were. Small, medium, and large.

I snatched a package from the shelf. Now I was going to die. I crawled up to the front of the store and slid the package onto the counter.

"Your brother's in Little League?" Grey asked, looking at my uniform.

"Yeah," I lied.

"And you're . . . .?"

"Thirteen. I'm in Junior League," I said, pulling a five-dollar bill out of my pocket; I didn't dare look up.

"That's cool," Grey said and handed me my change. "Go get 'em, kid."

I bounded out the door and rocketed back to the field. Top of the first, I figured, seeing George Andrews at bat.

"I asked for extra-large but they said there wasn't a guy in this town man enough to need one," I snarled as I pulled the jock strap from the bag and waved it at Coach Foster. I was so mad I bit into the package and ripped the plastic off with my teeth; a piece stuck to my tongue. I walked over to the trash can and spit it in. Billy glared at me from second and Mozzie frowned at me from the dugout. Steven was on first, blushing.

"Eye on the pitch," Foster reminded George, and then he turned and looked me up and down with his killer's eyes. "You're up next, Cullers," he said. "And you'd better be wearing that thing."

"Oh good," Billy shouted. "Put it on, Fran!"

"Wearing it," Coach Foster warned grimly as Mozzie struck out. I strode towards the batter's box, dangling the cup from its elastic straps in front of me. Halfway to the plate I stopped, turned, and smiled at Foster. I felt like I had in third grade when some kid dared me to peek into the boys' bathroom and I'd surprised a fifth grader zipping up his pants-like an outlaw.

"What's going on?" a bewildered Karson Kernel asked behind me.

"Hey, Coach?" I asked, "how do you put this on?"

He glared at me. "Quit holding up the damn game, Cullers."

The umpire looked sympathetic. "Well kid," he said, "put your right leg through one loop and your left leg through the other loop and hike the whole affair up around your waist."

"Oh, c'mon," Steven's mother yelled from the bleachers, but everyone ignored her. The Karson Kernels were laughing now, too.

"Fran, Fran, Fran," Billy sighed. "Now you'll never get a date."

"Is this all it takes?" I asked Foster as I lifted the strap behind my head and wound it around my pony tail. I wouldn't let him take baseball away from me. Life had thrown me some real beanballs lately-fired them straight at my head. Baseball was the one thing I had left.

"Fran. . . ." Foster warned.

I tied the elastic securely in a big bow, then jammed a batting helmet down over my hair. "Wearing it!"

"That's not what the rules say!" Foster bellowed.

"The strap is on her body," the ump said. "Looks legal to me."

Foster shook the wire backstop in frustration.

"What's the count?" I asked.

"One out, man on first and second," the ump said.

I surveyed the Kernels. I knew their pitcher from last year's state All Stars team; he had no tricks up his sleeve, just a hard straight fast ball. It'd be easy to drive Billy in from second.

But he'd had his chance. He and the Hardwares-they blew it.

I hailed the third baseman. "Ready?" I called. "This one's yours." He stared at me suspiciously. I stepped to the plate and shot him another smile. "I'm serious, get ready now." He still didn't believe me and almost didn't catch the easy grounder I smacked his way. He woke up just in time to tag Billy out.

"And now throw it to first!" I suggested. The Karson Kernels stared at me in open-mouthed confusion as I inched in slow-mo towards first base.

Then the pitcher got it. "Double-play!" he screamed at the third baseman. "She's giving it to us! Throw the ball, man!"

"Franny! What are you doing, Franny?" Steven wailed.

I was destroying the Highwater Hardwares, that's what.

Copyright © 2005 Kristi Roberts
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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2012

    Home run in Books

    1of my fav books in the whole world! Uwill instantly be hooked! Perfect 4 boys & girls

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2011

    I wish it was longer it was only 98 pages but other then that its a great book fot those girls that luv baceball or softball

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 9, 2012

    A girl named Fran Cullers finds out how hard life actually can b

    A girl named Fran Cullers finds out how hard life actually can be when her mom passes away. At her old hometown she was an absolute all-star on a baseball team. She has one great friend on the team named Steven. She’s very excited to be playing on the same team with him. There’s just one problem all the players are boys and they hate girls so there not accepting her very well. They won’t give her a break they try every little thing to try and get her out of this team. So she tries to ruin the team by making bad plays on purpose. To add on, her dad is acting very strange, and when she makes the worst play of all her hero is there watching, but she didn’t know that, and now she devastated. Also she loses the best thing ever. Can they compromise together to make the team a joy?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2012

    Thzrzrredr

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 12, 2009

    My 13th Season Book Review.

    Franny Cullers was a star at baseball on her team where she used to live. But the team that she's on now despises her. Her whole team is boys and they can't stand girls. Franny could wipe them off there feet if they would ever give her a chance. Her coach even hates her. And one time he even tried to hurt her! It's a book that will always keep you guessing what Franny will do next.
    "My 13th Season" is about a girl who is absolutely amazing at baseball but every single boy on her new team including her coach hates her. When the boys are making fun of her even her best friend won't even stick up for her. But suddenly she can't take it any longer. She thinks of ways she can get back at the boys and the mean coach. She finally found out what she can do to all of them, and revenge takes place. If you want to find out what the revenge was or any other exiting parts of the story check out this book, "My 13th Season"!
    I thought "My 13th Season" was a very interesting story. I did like most parts in the story, but some parts of it were hard to understand. If you like baseball or softball then you would defiantly like this book.
    You should read this book because it's the kind of book that you can't stop reading. Like, if you're in the middle of the chapter and say you have to go some where you can't just stop reading it, you have to finish the chapter.
    If you do like baseball or softball read this book!

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  • Posted November 24, 2008

    A wonderful book for girls who love sports and need a little encouragement to play!

    My 13th Season<BR/>By: Kristi Roberts<BR/>My 13th Season is a book about a young yet mature girl named Franny Culler. Franny is on an all boys softball team and tends to be the laughing stock of the team so decides that she is tired of dealing with all of the boys and is going to do something about it. This book is perfect for fifth and sixth grade girls who are very into sports and need that extra encouragement to do what they want even if they are not accepted right away! <BR/> Franny¿s father had always coached her softball team until her mother passed away leaving Mr. Culler in a very deep depression and Franny a mature thirteen year old. Since her father no longer coached her team she was on a team with Coach Foster. Coach Foster did not like that there was a girl on the team and frequently encouraged the boys on the team to pick on her. <BR/>One day the team was learning how to get hit by the ball and just shrug it off. Coach Foster used Franny as the example and threw the ball as hard as he would have at one of the boys, if not even harder. This hit made it harder for her to focus; she began to flinch at pitches, which was unlike Franny because she was one of the Highwater Hardwares best players. <BR/> After getting hit by the example pitch Franny got very irritated and decided she was going to ruin everything for the team. She began to purposely miss easy catches, bunt at the wrong time, and strike out. Franny began losing all of her friends and family due to her strong interest in baseball and was going to ruin her own dream of becoming the world¿s first girl professional baseball player if no one was going to help her change her attitude towards the Hardwares¿. <BR/>Just when Franny falls into a deep slump, her father finally chimes in to his daughters needs and decides to finish coaching the team. All of a Steven, Franny¿s best friend and teammate, along the rest of the boys ask for her help to win a very important game... <BR/>I don't want to ruin the rest of the book so you are going to have to read it to figure out what happens in the end!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2008

    a totally great book

    This is a book about a girl, who is great at and totally in love with baseball. She has problems though since she is on a team with 8 boys who are total jerks to her. Even her best friend wont stick up to the boys for her. But soon her coach looses control and puts her through and ordeal even the jerks on her team think is a little much. I won't say anymore don't want to ruin the book for you. But its a great book, story, and I couldn't put it down for a second I hope you like it.

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