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Joshua Foster, a forty-year-old African American high school chemistry teacher and part-time baseball coach, was invited to visit a cousin in Africa. His ninety-nine-year-old uncle, also a chemist, had developed a compound that had strange and unknown powers when coming in contact with leather and wood. Jesse, Josh's seventeen-year-old son, and Billy, his sixteen-year-old nephew, were the pitcher and catcher respectively on their newly formed team at Caledonia High. They were picked to finish last in their conference. The boys demonstrated to their coaches what could be done if the compounds could be used in a real game. Josh refused to allow it until the championship game, and then only because members of the opposing team had flattened the tires on all the vehicles for transporting players and equipment to the playoff game, almost forcing a forfeiture of the game.

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