More than a year after their triumph on the soccer field (Play-by-Play), Jeremy and his athletic friend Lloyd have a new problem: a teacher with a Mission. Mr. Shore may be new to the school, but he takes command from the first day--organizing the class into ""squads"" and ""platoons,"" delivering lectures on competitive spirit, barking out orders and blame. The other sixth-graders roll their eyes and try to adapt, but Jeremy slowly comes to a boil. Shore then organizes a pair of baseball games with archrival Penwell Prep and ""suggests"" that everyone sign up for the team; even Jeremy, a poor player, feels pressured to join. Penwell wipes them out in the first game; but after some intense practice, Jeremy's team comes back in the second when he overcomes his fear of the inside pitch and delivers the winning run. Glenn contrasts Shore's ineffectual bullying and frequent losses of temper with the calm wisdom of Jeremy's new friend and sounding board, Mr. Janowicz, a gentle old storekeeper who faces loneliness, would-be vandals, and a heart attack with quiet courage. By the end, Jeremy has gained some self-confidence; Shore, if not completely reformed, has at least been shown that his way isn't the only way to learn; and readers will have observed all this while enjoying both brisk sports-action and spirited conversation between Jeremy and his friends. Themes and lessons stick out all over this, but don't slow the pace.