I’m not totally sure why (maybe it’s because Danny Tamberelli plays him so well in the TV series) but I love me some Jackie Rodowsky. So, obviously, I’m a little psyched for this book. Even though Kristy would probably insist it’s really about her. Whatever, Kristy. You’re a walking fashion disaster.
David Michael and Kristy’s “steps” (as she calls Andrew and Karen) are playing softball in the backyard and mention they’d love to play with their friends in a real league. SEED PLANTED. The next time all the neighborhood kids are over, they complain that they want to join Little League but they’re either not old enough or honestly not good enough. Amanda Delaney tells Kristy that a neighborhood guy named Bart Taylor (an eighth-grader who goes to private school, not Stoneybrook Middle School like the BSC) has his own team of neighborhood kids called Bart’s Bashers. Kristy goes to talk to him to see if maybe David Michael and the other kids could join.
Kristy soon learns that Bart is “very, very, very cute” (and admits to having a Gigantic Crush on him!) and that his team is pretty full… so she decides to start her own. Before she knows it, she’s got about twenty kids on board:
Gabbie Perkins, 2 1/2
Jamie Newton, 4
Nina Marshall, 4
Andrew Brewer, 4
Suzi Barrett, 4
Myriah Perkins, 5
Claire Pike, 5
Patsy Kuhn, 5
Laurel Kuhn, 6
Karen Brewer, 6
Max Delaney, 6
Buddy Barrett, 7
David Michael Thomas, 7
Hannie Papadakis, 7
Matt Braddock, 7
Jackie Rodowsky, 7
Margo Pike, 7
Nicky Pike, 8
Jacob Kuhn, 8
Linny Papadakis, 8
At their first team meeting, Jackie comes up with the name Kristy’s Krushers (well, Margo Pike comes up with the Krushers-with-a-K part) and a dynasty is born. Well, sort of. The kids aren’t great at softball, but they try really hard and they’ve got spirit. And they’ve also got the Walking Disaster, Jackie, who loses a tooth at practice because, you know, he’s Jackie Rodowsky. The team even gets cheerleaders – Haley Braddock and Vanessa Pike, with Charlotte Johanssen as a helper.
Kristy, who’d swipe right for Bart, takes Shannon (the dog) for a walk, hoping to see him – and she does. He challenges her to a softball game: Bart’s Bashers vs. Kristy’s Krushers. The Bashers are older and better than the Krushers, but Kristy is so excited at the prospect of seeing Bart that she’s just like “YUP!” (I feel that. Bart sounds hot.)
Kristy’s team is excited about the game, too. They want to sell refreshments to make money for team hats, and they all practice extra hard. Jackie hits a home run at practice… unfortunately he hits it through the principal’s window at Stoneybrook Elementary School, where they’re practicing. Whoops. But then, a bigger disaster strikes. Bart and a few of his players come watch the Krushers practice and, while a couple players distract Bart, the rest of the Bashers mercilessly make fun of Kristy’s team. They call Jackie “Pig-Pen” and call deaf Matt Braddock a dummy. Kristy is PISSED. Her Gigantic Crush on Bart may be starting to wane. Worst of all, it upset a lot of the little kids on the Krushers.
Bart, though, comes to the Krushers’ practice the day before the big game. He asks Kristy if she wants to walk home and she nervously agrees. Nothing major happens, though… Bart and Kristy are both awk as hell. Then, on game day, Kristy gets the news that Nicky Pike is wicked sick and can’t pitch. SHIT. Kristy tells David Michael he’s starting. Come onnn, Thomas clan! The gang gets to the game site, sets up the refreshments, and Kristy gathers her team… just in time to see the Bashers make a grand entrance in their matching shirts and hats.
The Krushers are crapping their pants a little bit but, despite a few hiccups, they take a 3-0 lead in the first inning thanks to a home run by Matt Braddock (who’s the dummy now, Bashers?). Unfortch, though, the Bashers score six runs off David Michael in the second half of the inning. On Jackie Rodowsky’s next at-bat he humiliates himself – first knocking over the refreshments table, then swinging wildly at a bad pitch, and accidentally letting his bat fly at the pitcher. Embarrassed, he fakes an ankle sprain and tells Kristy he shouldn’t play anymore… but, of course, she’s onto him.
Kristy convinces Jackie to go back into the game by telling him he just needs to do his best, and the Krushers want and need him on the field. He agrees, and then makes a great play. Even Charlotte Johanssen starts cheering with Vanessa and Haley. The score is still 6-4 and the Krushers are still in it. Kristy is hopeful. In the end, the Bashers win 16-11, but everyone is still pretty impressed with how well the Krushers did, especially considering that they’re younger, smaller, and less trained than the Bashers.
Bart asks Kristy to walk home again, and he congratulates her. He commends the Krusher kids for their dedication to the team – despite being at a disadvantage, they played really hard and are totally committed to their team. Bart admits that when he came to scope out the team, he got worried, and he also apologizes for his Bashers being mean. They decide to have another Krushers vs. Bashers game in two weeks, and also to hang out sometime. Kristy’s breasts grow two sizes in anticipation. (Just kidding. Brick wall til she dies.)