Title: ZACH BEACON STRIKES OUT
Genre: MG Contemporary
Word Count: 35,000
Special Question: If your main character could be any Star Wars character, who would they choose and why? Han Solo, because Zach is a fast-talking rebel, and he would love to pilot the Millennium Falcon.
35 Word Pitch: When trophy-obsessed Principal McMott unjustly fires the school’s groundskeeper, seventh-grade shortstop Zach Beacon fast-talks the baseball team into going on strike, using the best leverage they have—the team won’t win till McMott gives in.
First 250 Words:
I knocked the dirt from my cleats and glared at the pitcher. “Gimme a fast one, Joey, if you’ve still got it in you.”
“Whatever, man. It’ll be midnight before my arm gets tired.” Joey went into a windup—and fell over laughing.
I’d done my signature bat-waggle butt-wiggle. It gets them every time.
“All right, Zach, knock it off,” said Coach Clark from the dugout.
I rested the bat on my shoulder. “Aw, Coach, we’re just messing around.”
“Zachary!” yelled a voice from the stands. “This is the last day of spring tryouts. Pay attention!”
My dad. Of course. He gets almost more excited about baseball season than I do.
Joey slung a fastball over the plate, and I smoked it into the hole in left field. I cruised to a stop at second.
“Nice,” said Coach Clark. He rubbed a hand across his forehead and squinted at a notepad. “Zach, take over as catcher. Rod’s going to bat now.”
I trotted towards home. Rod Grimble tore off the catcher’s mask and grabbed his bat from the dugout.
“Whee-yoo, Rod, this mask stinks,” I said as he stomped back to the plate. “What’d you have for lunch, a garlic sandwich?”
He didn’t look at me. Not even a grin. Rod the Bod—he’s practically as big as some of the high school football players—isn’t known for his sense of humor.
Joey lobbed a low fast one.
I grimaced. Rod hissed something my parents would murder me for saying and gripped the bat tighter.