The outlook wasn’t brilliant for the feisty Twins that day:
The score stood up by one run, with one inning more to play,
And then when one A player got to first, and a second did the same,
A pall-like silence fell upon the patrons of the game.
A straggling few got up to go in deep despair. The rest
Clung to the hope which springs eternal in the human breast;
They thought, “If only we could get an out, we could win it just like that—
We’d put up even money now, with a weak hitter at the bat.”
But though the pitches came fast and hard, there seemed little that went right,
one pitch went high, one pitch came low, the thrower seemed so tight.
the bench got quiet and pitches came, as came the dark of night.
And when the dust had lifted, and all saw what had occurred,
There was now an A at first, one safe at second and another a-hugging third.
Then from five thousand throats and more there rose a lusty yell;
It rumbled through Spring Valley, it rattled in the dell;
It pounded on the A.U. campus and recoiled round and round,
For Marco, mighty Marco, was advancing to the mound.
There was ease in Marco’s manner as he stepped into his place;
There was pride in Marco’s bearing and a smile lit Marco’s face.
And when, responding to the cheers, he lightly doffed his hat,
No stranger in the crowd could doubt ‘twas Marco to test the bat.
Ten thousand eyes were on him as he rubbed his hands with dirt;
Five thousand tongues applauded when he wiped them on his shirt;
Then while Marco eyes the plate and ground the ball into his hip,
Defiance flashed in the batter’s eye, a sneer curled the batter’s lip.
And now the leather-covered sphere came hurtling through the air,
And the batter stood a-watching it in haughty grandeur there.
Close by the sturdy batsman the ball unheeded sped—
“That ain’t my style,” the batter said. “Strike one!” the umpire said.
From the benches, packed with parents, there went up a muffled roar,
Like the beating of the storm-waves on a stern and distant shore;
“Yes Marco, great pitch” shouted someone on the stand;
And it’s likely they’d have cheered on had not Marco raised his hand.
With a smile of Christian charity great Marco’s visage shone;
He stilled the rising tumult; he bade the game go on;
He signaled to the batter, and once more the dun sphere flew;
But the batter still ignored it and the umpire said, “Strike two!”
“On no!” cried some of the thousands, and echo answered “Oh Yes!”
Would Marco again find some way to pitch them from this mess?
They saw his face grow stern and cold, they saw his muscles strain,
And they knew that Marco would once again let that ball go fly again.
The sneer is gone from the batter’s lip, his teeth are clenched in wait,
He pounds with cruel violence his bat upon the plate;
And now again Marco holds the ball, and now he lets it go,
And now the air is shattered by the force of the batter’s blow.
Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright,
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light;
And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout,
And today that joy is Friendship Heights—mighty Marco has struck them out.