The only place the fourth-grade gang (No Bean Sprouts, Please/, 1989) can practice for their baseball game with the fifth graders is a vacant lot next to Mrs. Abernathy's house and garden. Besides worrying about keeping the ball out of her yard, they dread another confrontation with class bully Mean Mitchell and his vicious dog; they also need to find a replacement for third base. Reluctantly, James puts his clog Tag on third, only to have him disappear with the ball after it hits him. Following a fruitless search, they return to the lot and nemesis Mean Mitchell. In a satisfying reversal of fortune, Mrs. Abernathy appears with a cookie-sated Tag and takes Mean Mitchell in tow after he breaks her kitchen window. Lightweight fare, but the gang members are loyal and caring and the plot moves briskly along. A satisfactory choice for readers just moving into chapter books. Ewing's b&w drawings quietly add ethnic diversity to the group.