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NINE INNINGS

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There’s a melancholy that’s settled on Frank Wilcox as he enters the Empty Nest chapter of his life. His four sons are grown and gone, and with them went 20 years of coaching boys baseball in three different communities across the South. Life is suddenly quiet, and the quiet is maddening. As baseball season begins, Frank has an idea – he will travel to Turner Field in Atlanta and attend a Braves game all by himself. It’s during that game that Frank is reminded of coaching memories: A miraculous comeback, a church’s old baseball field, a friendly mortician, a fox in the outfield, the search for catcher’s equipment, four-piece chicken baskets, and the life-changing advice of an early mentor. He remembers hundreds of players with nicknames like Spongebob, Big G, Killer, Sugarman, E-Mar, Jet, Snooky, Hoss, The Weapon, Ace, Sarge, Big A, and Vegas. The three-hour Braves game becomes a healing time for Frank and launches a new chapter in his life.

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