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One hundred ticks.
The number “100” lit up the entire massive center-field scoreboard. It was the speed of the pitch thrown by superstar hurler, Clair Sureclaw.
The striker watched as the fast pitch passed her by into the mitt of the receiver behind her to her left.
“STEER-IKE!” the referee called.
Perturbed, the striker looked back at the referee with a dirty look. She said nothing, though. She turned her eyes back to Clair, who was about to deliver another pitch.
Before the striker could truly prepare for the next pitch, another pitch whizzed by her. “STEER-IKE!” the referee called again.
Ninety nine ticks. The number “99” lit up on the scoreboard. The crowd roared at this information.
The striker grunted. She had this next one sized up for sure.
She leveled her bat. This time, she'd be ready.
Clair went into her hurling motion and delivered another pitch. But this time, it would not light up the scoreboard in the same way.
The striker swung hard. There was a loud crack. But it was not the crack that the striker had hoped for.
The pitch came inside towards her, connecting with the thinner part of the bat barrel. The bat snapped. Fortunately, the fat piece broke off, barely splintering. The pitch was thrown with such precision that it perfectly broke the bat in half.
And behind the striker, the receiver caught the deflected pitch. The receiver tagged the striker, and the referee announced. “You're OUT!”
The striker sighed and picked up the broken bat piece. She looked at Clair, who was smirking at her.
“I'll get you someday, Sureclaw,” the striker muttered.
“Sure you will,” Clair said under her own breath, amused by her opponent's defeat.
Clair shouldn't have been so confident. She didn't know who she was dealing with just yet.