By some it might be argued that Dick Prescott was under a moral obligation to go and caution Lawyer Ripley. But Dick hated talebearers. He acted up to the best promptings of his own best conscience, which is all any honorable man can do.
TRYING OUT THE PITCHERS
“Oh, you Rip!”
“Good boy, Rip!”
“You’re the winning piece of leather, Rip!”
“Get after him, Dick!”
“Wait till you see Prescott!”
“And don’t you forget Dave Darrin, either!” Late in March, it was the biggest day of Spring out at the High School Athletic Field.
This field, the fruit of the labors of the Alumni Association for many years, was a model one even in the best of High School towns.
The field, some six acres in extent, lay well outside the city proper. It was a walled field, laid out for football, baseball, cricket and field and track sports. In order that even the High School girls might have a strong sense of ownership in it, the field also contained two croquet grounds, well laid out.
Just now, the whole crowd was gathered at the sides of the diamond. Hundreds were perched up on one of the stands for spectators.
Down on the diamond stood the members of the baseball squad. As far as the onlookers could see, every one of the forty-odd young men was in the pink of physical condition. The indoor training had been hard from the outset. Weeks of cage work had been gone through with in the gym. But from this day on, whenever it didn’t rain too hard, the baseball training work was to take place on the field.
Coach Luce now stepped out of the little building in which were the team dressing rooms. As he went across the diamond he was followed by lusty cheers from High School boys up on the spectators’ seats. The girls clapped their hands, or waved handkerchiefs. A few already carried the gold and crimson banners of Gridley. Besides the High School young people, there were a few hundred older people, who had come out to see what the youngsters were doing.
For this was the day on which the pitchers were to be tried out. Ripley was known to be the favorite in all the guessing. In fact, there wasn’t any guessing. Some, however, believed that Dick, and possibly Dave, might be chosen as the relief pitchers.
Dick himself looked mighty solemn, as he stood by, apparently seeing but little of what was going on. Beside him stood Dave. The other four chums were not far off.
Another wild howl went up from the High School contingent when two more men were seen to leave the dressing room building and walk out toward Coach Luce. These were two members of the Athletic Committee, former students at Gridley High School. These two were to aid the coach in choosing the men for the school team. They would also name the members of the school’s second team.