PW #202: Middle Grade Contemporary: THE WINDUP

Manuscript Status: Finished

Mentor Name: Stefanie Wass
Mentee Name: Steven Carman
Category: Middle Grade
Genre: Contemporary
Word Count: 43,000


After losing his twin brother and his right hand in a car crash, thirteen-year-old Kyle struggles to return to baseball and fulfill the dream he and his brother once shared—winning the Brookhaven Invitational Baseball Tournament.


I stood atop the pitcher’s mound, baseball in hand. My only hand. Perched over the stub where my right hand used to be was my baseball glove, pocket-down.

“Last one, Kyle. Fire it in here,” my friend Hailey said, punching her catcher’s mitt.

The two of us had been practicing on the weed-choked Little League field for about two hours. Summer rays warmed the back of my neck. My worn-out pitching arm sagged at my side like a wet noodle. While balancing my glove on my right forearm, I wound up and slung a fastball. On the heels of my follow-through, I slipped my hand into my glove, fumbling a bit, and assumed a fielding position. Mastering the transfer of my glove was the hardest part. It was a sure bet teams would test me by hitting comebackers.

“Nice pitch,” Hailey said, hopping up. She jogged out to the mound, her blond ponytail swishing in rhythm with her long legs. “You’re ready for this.”

I shook off my glove and let it fall to the ground. “I hope so.”

It was one thing to practice without a batter standing at home plate. It was another story to pitch in a tournament, which was what I planned to do in just a few days.

The last time I laced up for a game was three years ago. Back when I was in fifth grade and my dad was the coach. Back when I had a right hand. Back when I had a twin on my team to double high-five.

Three years.

A lifetime ago.


Author: Heather Cashman

With a Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry, the lab reports always lacked the fantastical element Heather's imagination demands. Hypotheses turned into taglines and novels, so she's going back to college for a Creative Writing degree. Her novels range from Epic Fantasy to Contemporary Speculative Fiction, she dabbles in picture books, and is currently seeking representation. ~Member SCBWI

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  1. Hi Steven,
    I like the sound of this—I’d love to read more! Please send a query, synopsis, and full manuscript (Word documents will suffice) to — and don’t forget to mention #PitchWars in your subject line. Thanks—looking forward to my read!
    Good luck,

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  2. Hi Steven,

    Will you send me the full manuscript? ilse(at)bookstopliterary(dot)com

    I look forward to reading, thanks,


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