"And the challenger, Ash Ketchum from Pallet Town, is the winner!"
I was ecstatic. It had been a tough battle, but we had done it! We had defeated Falkner and gained our first Johto gym badge!
"We did it! We won!"
"Chaar!" Charizard cried out as he unleashed a blast of fire.
As we all celebrated our victory, I noticed my friends coming up to congratulate us.
"That was great, Ash!" said Brock.
"You knocked it out of the park!" said Casey.
"Not bad for your first gym battle," said Misty.
I smiled at their praise, then turned to see Falkner walking up to me.
"That was a great battle," he said, a wide smile on his face. "It was really smart of you to use Pidgeot's speed to your advantage. That was a great strategy."
He then held out a small object.
"You definitely earned the Zephyr Badge."
"Thanks," I said as I grabbed the badge. I took a moment to admire the newest addition to my collection. It was a shiny silver badge that was shaped like a pair of wings.
"Yes!" I said as I held out the badge. "We got the Zephyr Badge!"
Brock and Misty didn't seem too surprised by this. Casey, however, was a different story.
"Does he always do this?" she asked in a bemused tone.
"You should probably get used to it," said Misty.
Casey sighed, then looked back to me with a bit more of a smile.
"Really, though, congratulations, Ash!"
She gave me a big thumbs up, which Pikachu and I returned.
"So, I suppose you'll be wanting to challenge me too, Casey?"
Casey blinked, then turned to Falkner, who was now looking at her with an expectant face.
"Uh," she said, suddenly unsure. "Well, I mean I wanted to, but… it was so intense!"
"It kind of was," I said. "It's one thing to talk about it, but when you actually get to battle against a Gym Leader, it's totally different."
"Yeah…" said Casey, looking downwards with uncertainty. I couldn't help but worry for her. She had been so enthusiastic about finally getting her first gym badge, but having watched me and Falkner battle showed her just how hard it really was.
Fortunately, Casey's not the kind of girl who's going to back away from a challenge.
"Well the Electabuzz never back down, and neither will I!"
I couldn't help but grin. The fire in Casey never ceases to amaze me. It's… mesmerizing, in a way.
And Falkner was pretty impressed too.
"I'm glad to hear that, Casey," said Falkner. "Even if the Electabuzz are a rather lackluster baseball team."
Yeah. That's not good.
"Okay!" Casey yelled angrily. "You're going down!"
I mean… I guess I'm glad she's determined?
"We'll see," said Falkner. "Just so you know, since you're still a beginner, I won't be using my strongest team to battle you. That being said, don't expect me to go easy on you."
"That's fine!" Casey said with determination. "The Electabuzz wouldn't lose a match like this, and neither would I!"
So, I'm not sure about the Electabuzz winning a match like this, but I know for a fact that Casey is a lot better than her favorite team.
"This battle will be between the Gym Leader, Falkner, and the Challenger, Casey!" the referee announced. "Each trainer will use 2 Pokemon each, and only the challenger can swap Pokemon!"
"Hoothoot, let's begin!" Falkner said as he sent out his first Pokemon. "I hope you're ready for the might of a Gym Leader!"
"You're on!" said Casey. "Pidgey! Step up to the plate!"
"Man!" I said in excitement. "Casey's going to get her first Gym Badge!"
"Of course, that's assuming she's able to beat Falkner," Misty reminded me.
"Yeah," said Brock. "And you know that Falkner is one tough Gym Leader!"
That was definitely true. The flying-type specialist wasn't just going to let Casey take the badge that easily. And she was still inexperienced, so there was a lot that she didn't know about battling that could cost her.
And yet… I still had faith in her.
"She'll win. I know she will."
Confident, we looked back towards the battlefield, where Casey and Falkner were giving their first commands.
"Dodge and use Gust!"
Hoothoot flew forwards, its beak glowing white. However Pidgey managed to get out of the way just in time, and struck back with a burst of wind.
"Now use Tackle!"
The little flying type flew right into his opponent, striking it with a surprising amount of force for such a small Pokemon. In fact, Hoothoot actually got knocked back a couple of feet by the impact.
It was pretty amazing how good Casey was at training her team, considering how recently she had begun her journey. Of course, she has a pretty great teacher on her side.
It's me, of course. Not Brock and Misty, no matter how much more likely Casey is to take their advice over mine whenever they give it.
Seriously, guys, I'm supposed to be the one who teaches her everything about being a great trainer! I'm the future Pokemon Master, after all!
Anyway, getting back to the match. Casey's Pidgey was giving Falkner a surprisingly tough time, being able to dodge all the attacks Hoothoot had at its disposal while dishing out lots of damage all the while.
"Aw yeah!" Casey said, her voice brimming with excitement. "It's time to score a home run!" One more-"
Hoothoot's eyes suddenly glowed blue, and Pidgey was surrounded by psychic power. The little bird cried out in pain as he was squeezed by the unexpected attack.
"It knows confusion?!" I said incredulously. "I thought it was a flying type!"
"It is," said Brock, "but Hoothoot are known for their psychic abilities. It can really catch inexperienced trainers off guard."
"Oh no," said Misty. "How's Casey going to get out of this one?"
I looked over at the girl in question, and saw that she was worried about this as well.
"Pidgey!" she yelled. "Try and get out of there!"
Pidgey tried to move out of his opponent's psychic grip, but was unable to escape. However, I noticed that he was still able to move to a certain extent.
"It's time to end this," said Falkner. "Use Peck and finish this!"
Hoothoot lunged forwards, its beak glowing with power. But Casey was ready.
"Grab it before it can hit you!"
Pidgey's feet shot upwards and grabbed Hoothoot's face. While this didn't do any damage, it yanked the tiny bird Pokemon out of his opponent's psychic grasp, and it also shocked it into canceling its attack.
"Now Tackle it into the ground!"
Pidgey then flew above his opponent. He then flew downwards, slamming into Hoothoot and sending them both flying into the ground. As they landed, a cloud of dust was thrown upwards, hiding the two pokemon for a moment. Once it cleared, however, it was clear who had won.
"Hoothoot is unable to battle!" the referee declared. "Pidgey is the winner!"
"Yeah!" said Casey. "You did great, Pidgey!"
"Aw yeah!" I said excitedly. "Casey's halfway to her first Badge!"
"Yeah," said Brock. "Now we'll see if she can keep it up."
"Well, whatever happens," said Misty, "she's doing a lot better than Ash did on his first gym battle."
"What's that supposed to mean?" I asked angrily.
"I think you know exactly what she meant," Brock said, making me grit my teeth in frustration. I was not that bad when I started out.
...Okay, maybe I was. But I don't like it when people remind me of that!"
Back on the field, Falkner had just sent out his second Pokemon, a Pidgeotto. Pidgey seemed nervous about facing its evolution, but determined to win nevertheless.
"Pidgey!" Casey called out. "Use Gust!"
"Counter with your own Gust!"
Pidgey flapped his wings as hard as he could, trying to blow his opponent away. However, the larger bird did the same, and the second Gust was far too powerful for the smaller Pokemon to counter.
"Piidge!" the tiny bird Pokemon cried as he was flung away.
"Pidgey!" Casey yelled. "Get out of there!"
"Don't let them escape!" Falkner called. "Full power Gust!"
Pidgeotto flapped its wings with even more intensity. Pidgey tried to fly out of the way of the attack, but was quickly trapped in the vortex.
"No!" Casey yelled frantically. "What do I do now?!"
She was clearly starting to panic, and that could easily cost her the match.
"Casey!" I yelled. "You've got to keep it together! If you don't keep your eye on the ball, you're gonna lose your shot!"
I mean, that was kind of baseball-y, right?
Well, at least it seemed to have gotten through to her.
"I… yeah, you're right!" she said. "I can still do this!"
"That's it!" I said. "Don't give up until it's over!"
She looked at me with a surprised look for a moment after that last remark, before she nodded. She then looked around the battlefield, trying to figure out what she could do. After a moment, she had an idea.
"Pidgey! Let the wind move you around!"
The little flying type took off, though clearly with some effort, and moved around in the wind. As he flew, the wind pushed him forwards, making him faster and faster. Finally, Pidgeotto cancelled its attack, letting the smaller Pokemon fly free.
Pidgey cried out as he slammed into his opponent with great force, nearly knocking it out of the sky. However, Falkner was ready.
"Counter with Wing Attack!"
Before Casey or Pidgey could react, Pidgeotto slammed both its wings against its pre-evolution. The little guy was knocked out of the air and fell to the ground, knocked out.
"Pidgey is unable to battle! Pidgeotto is the winner!"
I can't say I'm surprised. Pidgey had already taken lots of damage from the previous battle, and then had to fight its evolved form. He was never going to win.
But maybe he had given his trainer a chance.
"We can still win this one!" Casey said as she took out her next pokeball. "Babe! Step up to the plate!"
With a flash, her starter came forth. Knowing that she would be excited to see him, I decided to bring out my own Chikorita.
"Come on out, Ruth!"
Yeah, we gave both our Chikorita nicknames. It's less confusing that way.
"Another Chikorita?" Falkner said in a disappointed tone. "You two have no regard whatsoever for type advantages, do you?"
"Yeah, I've heard," Casey said defiantly. "We're still going to win!"
"We'll see about that," said Falkner. "Pidgeotto! Use Quick Attack!"
Babe tried to move, but his opponent was much too fast, and he was hit dead on.
"Okay, no problem!" said Casey. "Use Razor Leaf!"
"Fly out of the way, then use Wing Attack!"
Babe fired off as many leaves as he could, but none of them managed to hit the bird Pokemon. To make matters worse, Pidgeotto began to dive towards the grass type, spreading its wings for an attack.
To my surprise, though, Casey came up with a surprisingly good idea.
"Babe! Use Vine Whip and grab it by the wings!"
"Chiko!" Babe yelled as he extended his vines. He then grabbed the flying type's wings before it could react, preventing it from attacking.
"Now throw it into the ground and Tackle it!"
Babe cried out as he flung his opponent downwards. Pidgeotto cried out in pain, only to be slammed by a surprisingly strong Tackle attack.
"Whoa," said Misty, "that was actually pretty clever for her to do."
"Yeah," said Brock. "That was definitely not something I expected."
"I know," I said with a big smile on my face. "I'm so proud of her!"
Back on the field, Pidgeotto seemed to be damaged, but was clearly not done yet.
"Razor Leaf again, before it can recover!"
"Blow it away with Gust!"
Pidgeotto flapped its wings, sending a huge wave of air at Babe. The Chikorita tried to fire off his leaves, but they were all blown away before they could do anything. And very soon, he was blown away as well.
"Babe!" Casey said. "Try and grab him with your vines!"
"Fly out of the way!"
Pidgeotto stopped its attack and took off, narrowly avoiding the move. Casey gritted her teeth as she tried to find a way to gain an advantage. She then had an idea and grinned.
"Use Sweet Scent!"
Babe let out a stream of scented air, which made me and everyone else sigh in contentment. I need to see if I can get Ruth to learn that move.
Oh yeah, the battle. Luckily, Pidgeotto had smelled it too, which was making it lower its guard. And it was no longer flying to evade attacks.
"Get 'em, Babe!"
"Chiko!" Babe yelled as his vines launched towards the flying type, wrapping around its body. At the same time, though, the feeling of being wrapped by vines seemed to snap it out of its distraction.
"Pidgeotto!" Falkner yelled. "Fly up and get those vines off!"
"Hang on and reel him in!"
Babe tried to bring his opponent closer to him, only to be yanked off the ground. Undeterred, the grass type pulled himself upwards with enough force to fly right over Pidgeotto. Casey was clearly surprised by this, but she quickly took advantage of it.
"Tackle him down!"
The leaf Pokemon cried with determination as he slammed down on his opponent. The injured avian then began to fall… right as Babe was still wrapped around it.
"Oh no!" Casey cried. "Babe!"
I watched in shock as both combatants fell downwards. In my arms, I could feel Ruth squirming around, clearly horrified by what she was seeing.
"Babe and Pidgeotto are gonna crash!" Misty yelled.
"They've got to do something quick!"
Unfortunately, neither Falkner or Casey were able to give any commands before they crashed. I had to grab onto Ruth as hard as I could, as she was frantically trying to rush off to help her fellow Chikorita.
As the dust cleared, we saw both trainers rushing in to help their respective Pokemon. Falkner was looking over Pidgeotto with a pensive look on his face, while Casey was much more worried as she tended to Babe.
"Babe!" Casey said frantically. "Are you okay?!"
To everyone's shock, the little grass type got back up to his legs, still determined to fight.
"Huh," Falkner said as he got up. "Looks like your Chikorita is more resilient than I gave him credit for."
As we looked at him, we were all surprised to see Pidgeotto lying in his arms, clearly out cold. At this sight, the referee made a decision.
"Pidgeotto is unable to battle! Chikorita is the winner! As Falkner has no remaining Pokemon, the challenger, Casey Nanako from New Bark Town, is the winner!"
A huge smile formed on Casey's face. And we were excited as well.
"She did it!" I said happily.
We all rushed up to the field to congratulate her. And Ruth jumped out of my arms to snuggle up to Babe.
"Chikorita! Chiko!" Ruth said as she hugged her friend.
"Rita! Rita!" Babe said in response, looking a little bit redder than I remember.
I smiled as I looked at the two, then turned to Casey.
"You were awesome, Casey!" I said. "I knew you could do it!"
"Aw, thanks Ash!" she said bashfully, scratching the back of her head.
"Congratulations," said Misty. "You did great!"
"Yeah," said Brock. "You had us worried for a moment, but you actually managed to pull it off."
"I know," said Casey. "It wasn't easy to get that home run, but the Electabuzz never give up, so I won't either!"
"Well, I'm certainly glad you didn't," Falkner said as he handed her an item. "You've earned yourself the Zephyr Badge.
Casey grinned as she grabbed the badge. She then excitedly showed it to us.
"I did it! I won my first gym battle!"
"Congrats," I said as I gave her a thumbs up. "You were amazing!"
"Thanks, Ash. I can't wait to get the rest of my badges!"
"Then I would suggest you head towards Azalea Town," said Falkner. "You'll be able to get your next badge there."
"Great," I said. "We'll head right out!"
We all looked at Casey, who had a serious look on her face.
"What… what's wrong?" said Misty.
"We need to sing the Electabuzz Team Song!"
We watched in bemusement as she pulled out her bat and began to sing, with her parte r happily joining her. Falkner in particular seemed to have no idea what to do.
"Ah… should we-"
"Don't," I said. "Let her have her moment."
I mean, she just won her first Gym Badge. I think she has the right to celebrate in her own unique way.
Besides, while I'll never admit it, it does look kind of cute.
A/N: Hey, guys! I know it's been more than a year since I did anything with this story, and for that I apologize. But I recently had a huge flash of inspiration regarding this story, and I really want to carry on with it. Besides, the world needs more Baseballshipping.
A friendly heads up, though: this story is going to go in a different direction than you might think. I'm hoping people like it, but it might not be for everyone. You'll see why when we get there.
Also, if you started reading the story before this chapter was posted, I'd advise you to re-read the previous chapter. I didn't change much (it's literally just a single sentence) but it'll play a big role later on.
I'll get the next chapter up as soon as I can!