Henry Skrimshander is a slight shortstop with a love and strong appreciation for baseball. Henry isn't a great player, and not very strong at bat but he does have potential. When his sister writes the message "Call Mike Shorts!" by the phone, Henry's life changes forever.
Mike Schwartz is the captain of the baseball team at Westish College in Wisconsin. Mike is addicted to painkillers (also the captain of the football team, he has bad knees), hardworking and spends a lot of his time helping his teammates become the best players they can be. He is hard on them, pushing them through more squats, more lifts, and more runs than seemingly possible.
Just as Henry is about to break the NCAA record for most error free games, an errant ball slips out of his hands and flies into the face of his roommate Owen Dunne who is sitting in the dugout reading a book. This seemingly innocuous error sets into motion a series of events that become life changing not only for Henry, Mike, and Owen but also the President of Westish, Guert Affenlight, and his daughter Pella who has just returned to Wisconsin after some personal problems of her own.