Young Readers Stories of the Diamond, by Charles Coombs
Four out of five stars
There are seven stories about baseball in this collection, as the title suggests, all feature teenage boys engaged in the challenges of life, as expressed in baseball. The coverage is everything from the fairest of play in Little League to the sinister forces of gambling. One story features a batboy that is considered such a good-luck charm that he is kidnapped by gamblers in an attempt to cause a loss.
My favorite in the collection has the title, “You Just Never Know,” and features a girl. Not as a player but as a coach. She has just moved to Valley Center and is watching a local team play. As the game progresses, she is not shy about yelling to the players what they should do. It annoys them at first, but since they are losing and she is right, they begin paying attention. Her advice helps them come from behind and win the game. At the ending of the story, she is offered the position as coach of the team.
While there are lessons about life in these stories, they are light and enjoyable. Youth sports should be fun, which is what these stories are.