At Bat The Super Sluggers About Kevin Home More Stuff

"Settle down now, kid!" I called from my position at third base as catcher Tugboat Tooley gunned the ball back to Slingshot Slocum.

Our pitcher snapped the ball out of the mist with a look of disgust. He mopped his face with his sleeve, wiping away the sprinkles that had been spitting down ever since the start of the game. He stared home for the sign. Tugboat flashed one finger: fastball. Slingshot shook him off. Tugboat gave him the sign for change-up. Slingshot shook him off again.

I groaned. I hoped Slingshot wasn't thinking about throwing the forkball. For some reason known only to himself, lately Slingshot had been obsessed with that impossible pitch. It's called a forkball because of the grip: you spread your index and middle fingers wide and fork the ball between them. The problem is, you have to snap your wrist hard to make the ball spin and the strain can really mess up your arm. Nobody younger than 17 or 18 should fool with the forkball. Everybody knows that. And yet, Slingshot kept trying.

The other problem with the forkball was accuracy. Slingshot's version of it was like a bacon double-cheeseburger at a vegetarian restaurant: it never crossed the plate. Hence, the bases-loaded jam we were in now.

"Nothing fancy!" I called. "Just hum it in there!"

Slingshot brought his hands together over his head.

That's when the rain really began to fall.

Only "fall" is not the right word for what the rain did. It crashed upon Rambletown Field like a tidal wave, a sudden, drenching wall of water. And it kept right on pounding. Mayhem erupted in the bleachers as fans scrambled to escape the deluge. As wet as it was, they could've used scuba gear. We could have, too. Or maybe a submarine. Within seconds, the field flooded. So much water fell so fast that the bases rose and began drifting around the swamped diamond. Lumleyville runners clung to them like Titanic survivors.

"The runners are going!" I shouted as water swirled up to my ankles. Between the hammering rain and all the thunder, no one heard me.

Fortunately, it didn't matter. As I shouted, the umpire jumped from behind the plate. He raised his arms and called off the game.

At least I think he did. It was hard to tell. The solid rush of water from the sky blurred everything like a shower curtain. For all I know, the ump might have been casting a net into the rolling sea.

In any case, I didn't wait for a second opinion. I waded off the field and into the shelter of the dugout, where Mr. Bones greeted me with a wet smack on the chops.

Mr. Bones is my dog, a long-nosed, short-legged, yellow-haired furball that strangers often mistake for a bandicoot. He likes to be petted and he likes to lick faces. Judging by the way he danced and yapped on the top step of the dugout as my fellow Rounders splashed in from the storm, he does not like thunder and lightning.

Or rainouts.

Or baseball fields when they turn into the Atlantic Ocean.