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Frank Roscoe's Secret Or, the Darewell Chums in the Woods

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"That's the way to line 'em out, Ned!"

"Go on now! Take another! You can get home!"

"Wow! That wins the game! Hurrah for Ned Wilding!"

Those were some of the shouts, amid a multitude of others, that came from scores of boyish throats as they watched the baseball game between the Darewell High School and the Lakeville Preparatory Academy. The occasion was the annual championship struggle, and the cries resulted from Ned's successful batting of the ball far over the center fielder's head.

It was a critical moment for the score was tie, it was the ending of the ninth inning, and there were two men of the High School nine out. It all depended on Ned.

But Ned was equal to the occasion. He had placed the ball well, and as soon as he heard the crack, when his bat struck it, he had darted for first. Then, running as he never had run before, he kept on to second. The encouraging shouts of his friends induced him to advance toward third, though by this time the center fielder had the ball and was throwing it to the baseman.

"Come on, Ned! Come on! Take a chance!" yelled Bart Keene, captain of theHigh School team.

Then Ned, from a baseball standpoint of safety, did what might be termed a foolish thing. He reached third base just an instant before the ball did. He heard it strike the baseman's glove with a loud "plunk!"

A second later, stooping to avoid being touched, Ned sprang up and ran toward the home plate. It was a desperate chance in a desperate game, for the Lakeville players were cool and experienced hands, and Ned was almost certain to be put out. However, he had chanced it. It was too late to go back now. He was running straight for home, as though there was no such thing as a baseman with a ball close behind him, waiting for a good chance to throw to the catcher and put him out.

Right at the catcher Ned ran. The third baseman drew back his arm to throw the ball. The catcher put out his hands to grasp it. Then Ned jumped up into the air, springing as high as he could.

This disconcerted the aim of the third baseman and he had to throw higher than he intended, to get the ball over Ned's head.

It was what Ned intended that happened.

The catcher was obliged to jump to reach the whizzing ball. He just missed it, the leather sphere grazing the tips of his fingers. Then it flew over his head, while there sounded a groan from the Lakeville supporters. The game was a High School victory.

An instant later Ned had passed the chagrined catcher and had touched the home plate, while the High School boys stood up on the bleachers and made themselves hoarse with cheers. Joining them came the shrill cries of the girls of Darewell, quite a throng of whom had come to see the game.

"Good, Ned!" cried Bart, as he ran up to grasp his chum by the hand.

"That's the stuff!" exclaimed Fenn Masterson. "I knew you could do it,Ned!"

"That's more than I knew myself," Ned answered, panting from his home run.

"Three cheers for the Darewells!" called the captain of the preparatory school nine....