Emma Jordan ribbed her coach about losing the bet.
The senior captain and centerfielder leaned against Rob Mason's thick shoulder and cocked her head to the side. "Time to pay up, big guy!"
Coach Mason issued a side-eye glance and caught a mischievous grin in return.
It didn't take long for the team to join in, as they circled and whooped, Mason padded the air with a calloused hand. "Alright, alright," he conceded.
Emma nudged him with an elbow and teased, "It'll be dark soon."
Mason cracked a smile and replied, "Easy now, sister."
Then the coach lowered his bulky frame to the ground, and the Lady Redhawk Softball Team started to cheer. Emma hovered over her coach and pointed a dramatic finger, counting out each rep.
Upon pushing out the tenth one, the team celebrated, and Coach Mason collapsed to the ground with a groan. "No more bets," he said breathlessly.
Emma said playfully, "Four years together, and you're still betting against me?" She offered a hand and helped her coach to his feet.
The coach shook his head with a broad smile and put a tired arm around Emma. "I hope you saved some catches for tomorrow," he said. "Twenty-five in a row. And, I tried burning you gap to gap!"
"I got plenty left, coach. Don't you go worrying about me." Her beautiful smile beamed with confidence.
"I'm proud of you, kid. You stuck with it every year when others bailed," he said.
"The sole survivor," she said with a wink.
"Tomorrow, it's all going to pay off. Just think, we've got a chance to punch our ticket to the state tournament. Now, who would have ever imagined that?