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Connor circled to his right. He had the better angle on the ball and called off third baseman Carlos Molina. "I got it!" Connor yelled, tapping his glove with his fist, wondering if he should do the Adam Jones bubble-blow as the ball floated out of the bright blue May sky.
Then he watched in disbelief as the ball kicked off the heel of his glove and rolled harmlessly to the grass. Carlos hustled to retrieve it, but not before two runs scored.
Instantly, Connor felt something welling up inside him. How did I blow an easy fly ball like that? I can't even blame the stupid sun!
Before he could stop himself, he slammed his glove to the ground in disgust. Then, convinced the glove hadn't absorbed enough punishment, he kicked it as hard as he could.
Connor didn't think a battered Wilson glove could travel that far. But this one sailed past the pitcher's mound, where Jordy, his best friend, picked it up with a shocked grin.
"That little act might make SportsCenter, bro," Jordy said, handing over the glove. "Good thing the ump had his back turned."
By now, Connor's anger had vanished, replaced by a major case of embarrassment. "With my luck, it'll be all over YouTube, too," he muttered.
Then they heard it.
Coach Hammond's voice cut the air like a whip. He stood on the dugout steps and glared at his shortstop. "Bring it in, son," he said. Turning to Marty Loopus on the bench, he said: "Marty, you're in for Connor."
Feeling his face redden, Connor trudged to the dugout as a hush fell over the crowd. It was a silence he had never heard before at a baseball game, the kind of silence you felt in a doctor's office right before he gave you a shot.
"Connor, you're better than that," Coach Hammond said gruffly. "And I'm not talking about the error. We don't lose our temper like that. Not on this team."