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#12…Wells Street Merchants vs. some team from another park @ Hamilton Park, Fort Wayne, IN
1st round of Little League City Playoffs…12 years old.

This is the part of my Top 15 where it might start sounding extremely obscure. Please remember, this is MY list and as long as I witnessed it or was a part of it, it qualifies!

This was my first season playing actual Little League Baseball. I know, I was a couple years late to the party. I was playing other lesser leagues like Wildcat baseball.

I had the privilege to play for a local icon of youth sports, namely at Hamilton Park, Bob Beber. He gave me the opportunity to play the position where I could flex my athletic ability, shortstop. I didn’t play there exclusively, as first base became my 2nd position, but I feel like I made a great mark at short.

The season wasn’t a great season as we were a sub .500 team who struggled offensively. But as the first round of the City Tournament came around, we knew everyone was on the same level. Though we didn’t need it, I played the offensive game of my life.

I don’t recall who our opponent was, or where they were from, but we beat them easily. In fact, we dominated every facet of the game.

I’ve never been the greatest hitter in the world, but my speed was used quite a bit and I’d frequently bunt for a hit. I was the lead-off hitter most of the year and that’s exactly what I did on pitch number 1 of the game.

I don’t recall a whole lot of specific details of this game, but in my second at bat, I drove one down the left field line for a double.

Now in my third at bat, the outfield had noticeably shifted to the left. I admit I didn’t do it on purpose but i sent one high down the right field line where no one was near the ball. I remember hearing Coach Beber say to “come on Jason, come on, come on”, yelling from the third base coaches box. I took an extremely wide turn around second and managed to beat the throw to third by a split second.

I know we won this game easily and in Little League there is a 10 run rule, so we must not have hit that yet, but I actually got a 4th at bat. I’d be lying if said I wasn’t trying to hit the ball to the moon. I remember getting a perfect fastball on the outside part of the plate and putting a huge swing into it. At the time, I don’t think I’d ever hit a ball harder. It was a high line drive to right field heading right for the pole. As I’m sprinting to first, I’m thinking for a quick second “cycle, cycle, cycle”. It hits the “186” sign that is essentially as high on the fence as can be, and caroms oddly into foul territory. Needless to say, it was the most disappointing triple I’ve ever had.

When I got to third base, Coach Beber looks at me and said, “you thought you got it all didn’t you?”. I told him, I thought I did.

That was as close to a home run I’ve ever come playing organized baseball. Thankfully I usually made up for my lack of power with my speed, and playing the field.

I’d also like to know if anyone in Hamilton Park history had ever hit for the cycle, let alone a natural cycle.

Less than 6 inches from hitting for a natural cycle is #12 on my Top 15 Sports Moments.

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