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Donny’s Perfect Game, M. L. Shochet’s debut novel, follows Donny Shapiro as he navigates through the challenges of baseball, school, and playing alongside his archrival… on his quest to pitch the perfect game!
Be sure to watch the trailer, and scroll down to read a sample!
Donny’s Perfect Game: Chapter 1
“Donny, wake up!”
I let out a low groan and slightly lifted one eyelid. “What?”
“Donny, wake up now! You’re going to be late for school,” my mom said firmly.
I pulled myself out of bed, slowly walked to the bathroom, washed my hands, and put on the outfit for school I had picked out the night before.
I had the dream again last night. This was the fourth night in a row. Maybe that’s why I was still feeling tired, even though I had gone to sleep early.
I walked into the kitchen, grabbed a bowl and a spoon, and poured myself some cereal and milk. As I ate my breakfast, my mother walked into the room, tousled my light brown hair, and gave me a kiss on the forehead before starting to make herself some coffee.
“Mom, I had the dream again,” I said.
“What dream, honey?” my mom asked, her back turned to me.
“Mom, you know. The nightmare I’ve had every night this week.”
“Oh, honey, I don’t know if I’d call it a nightmare.”
“It sure feels like one to me.”
The dream was always the same. I am pitching for my little league team, which I love to do. I’m pitching great. My fastballs are fast. My changeups keep the batters off balance. My curveballs go exactly over the corner of the plate. Strike one. Strike two. Strike three. Then a ground out. Then another strikeout. Everything goes great, inning after inning. I’m pitching a perfect game!
A perfect game, that is, until one of my pitches goes wild. My curveball accidentally curves a little too much, and causes the batter to jump out of the way to avoid getting hit. In my dream, the batter gets up off the ground and glares at me with anger in his eyes. And that’s when the dream becomes a nightmare.
I can’t calm down and get control, no matter how hard I try. All my breaking pitches start to miss the plate. My fastball slows down, and my changeup doesn’t fool anyone. I give up two walks, then a single and two doubles, and then finally a home run. And just like that, my perfect game has become a six-run inning that I just can’t get out of. The manager takes me out of the game.
Then I wake up in a sweat.
That’s how the dream has happened the last four nights.
“Oh, Donny, I’m sorry that you have been having that bad dream over and over again. Maybe you could talk to Coach Max about it later,” Mom suggested.
“I can’t tell Coach Max!” I said loudly, almost yelling. “He’s going to think I never got over what happened at last year’s playoff game, and he’ll never let me pitch again!”
“But you didn’t get over it, honey,” Mom replied calmly. “That’s why you keep having the dream.”
“Well, yes, but…he’s not supposed to know that,” I said. “And besides, the dream has to stop sometime, right?”
The loud horn of the school bus interrupted our conversation.
“Donny, you’re late for the bus again! Hurry up! It’s waiting for you!”
I took one last bite, stood up, and got my backpack on. As I was about to walk out the door, my mom stopped me.
“Donny, your pants look short. Have you been growing?”
The fact was, I had been growing. I was already pretty tall for my age. At my last doctor’s appointment, I was measured at 5’2”, but I felt like I had grown at least an inch or so since then. But now wasn’t really the time to talk about that.
“Mom, I gotta go. Can’t talk now,” I quickly said, and kept walking to the door.
“Maybe we can go out to look for new pants one evening this week,” my mom said, ignoring the fact that I was already late.
“Mom, I have to go! Love you! Bye!” I called as I ran out the door.