Sunday, September 1, 2013

The Pitcher-William Hazlegrove

The Pitcher

William Hazlegrove

Koehler Books, Sep 1 2013, $15.95

ISBN: 9781938467592

In Florida, Ricky Hernandez lives with his Mexican-Puerto Rican mom while their abusive patriarch Fernando shows up when he needs money or the need to batter her. Ricky excels at nothing as his dyslexia makes school impossible and his heritage makes life impossible. However, at a carnival he learns he has a great pitching arm. His mom Maria would do anything to help her son succeed, but is unhealthy, unemployed and uninsured.

Maria dreams of his fastball enabling her son to make the high school team though she is aware that the parents of her son’s rivals for a spot hire professional coaches to instruct their children; she does not have the money for medical care that she desperately needs. Still to help her Rickey she becomes assistant coach on his baseball team, but believes her son needs a mentor. When Rickey enters the forbidden zone of a drunk to retrieve a ball, he meets the bellicose Pitcher. Determined Maria turns to the reclusive former World Series Pitcher to help Rickey with fundamentals. The twenty-five years MLB Pitcher wants to be left alone in his garage, but instead Maria showers him with kindness.

Filled with morality themes, The Pitcher is an enjoyable character driven tale mindful of the movie The Sandlot. Filled with sliders and curves, young adults and baseball fans of all ages will enjoy taking the mound as Maria brings her fastball to the game of life and by doing so she helps Rickey and the retired Pitcher.

Harriet Klausner

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