Thirteen-year-old Kelly Romani is a renowned troublemaker and a Little League pitching phenomenon. With the playoffs approaching and scouting interest heating up, Kellyís future, while not assured, looks bright. Unfortunately, his independent streak and his willingness to take on authority usually land Kelly and his best friend Midge in trouble. When the boysí favorite umpire Hal Mann refuses to take a certification exam and is barred from officiating, Kelly and Midge decide that they must take a stand. Risking disqualification and disgrace, the boys attempt to force the league to reconsider its decision. As the situation becomes more desperate the boys learn the truth behind their friendís refusal to take the exam. The Mann is only convinced to change his mind when he realizes what else is at stake. Both boys learn some valuable lessons in doing the right thing, standing up for what you believe in and expecting the best from others. Along the way they also manage to teach the adults in their lives a few lessons.
"Butcher . . . has created a winning narrator, an interesting protagonist, and plopped them into a story framed by well-written baseball scenes - a good game all around."
"The baseball is exciting, Mann's secret is sensitively handled, and the contrasting family dynamics are edifying . . ."
"a delightful summer read and a notable addition to the genre of sporst fiction for young readers."
"...a high-interest tale that will engage even the most reluctant readers."