A valentine to a game that was, and could be again, almost perfect. A Cascade League playoff game between the Nottingham Shoppers and the Wakena Apples reaches a new level of excitement when Jake discovers that what he puts down on his scorecard comes to pass on the baseball field -- sometimes. Luck or magic? While Jake struggles with the notion that he may have a magic scorecard, Manes deftly slips readers into the stands, recreating the authentic flavor of a minor league ball game: the sounds, the smells, the local promotions between each half-inning, the uneven (by major league standards) level of play, the intimacy of a small stadium. Tension mounts as the Shoppers' Dirk Wade pitches one perfect inning after another -- only to lose in the 10th; still, a special night for him, and for Jake, who leaves with a caught foul ball, a new collection of baseball cards, a battered program containing that scorecard, plus a startling note from Wade: ""Thanks Jake. I couldn't have done it without you."" Funny incidents and one-liners sparkle throughout the seamless narrative, but Manes also inserts thoughtful dialogue about fair play and fan interference.