One Shot at Forever (A Small Town, an Unlikely Coach, and a Magical Baseball Season) was written by Chris Ballard, a Sports Illustrated writer. This novel was published during 2012 by Hachette Books and is a true story. It tells the story of an underdog baseball team (the Macon Ironmen) from a small-town high school within rural Illinois defying the odds stacked against it despite its amateur background. At the core of it all is the guidance of coach Lynn Sweet, an English teacher with no relevant coaching experience. Lynn and his baseball team push through obstacles to achieve great success, which serves as inspiration for readers.
Many Goodreads reviews described One Shot at Forever as an excellent motivational sports drama, even touching those who aren't sports fans. On the other hand, not all Goodreads reviews showed satisfaction with the ending of this book. New York Times bestselling author Jeff Pearlman described this novel as powerful and inspirational, in addition to being true to the sport of baseball.
As a Sports Illustrated writer, Ballard has focused on narrative features, covering stories of the NBA and MLB, among other things. One Shot at Forever earned him the 2013 ALA Alex Award, in addition to positioning him as a 2016 nominee of the Lincoln Award.