TALLMADGE, Ohio- – Tallmadge Little League softball and baseball players got the experience of a lifetime during MLB All-Star week.
Not only did some members of the 500-person league have tickets to the Home Run Derby Monday, they got in on the action in the outfield!
The team’s hard work caught the attention of one of baseball’s biggest stars, Francisco Lindor, who recently surprised members of the softball and baseball team during their practice. They also received a personal invitation to the derby.
“Frankie shows up and he starts walking down the steps that are behind me there; it was just an unbelievable moment. The kids’ faces were smiling and they’re grabbing each other and jumping around. It was just a really cool experience,” said president of the Little League and coach Tom Headrick.
Lindor’s surprise was a part of his work with T-Mobile who donated $250,000 to Little League baseball and softball during the Home Run Derby. Tallmadge Little League players said it was an opportunity they never dreamed they would see.
“First, I couldn’t imagine that I would do anything like I did for the derby,” said 12-year-old Brady Headrick. “We were in the outfield shagging. It was super fun. If they weren’t home runs we get the ball, throw them right back to center field.”
Coach Headrick said others in the League got special time with Lindor during Monday’s big event. It included some players from the Little League’s adaptive program for individuals with physical and intellectual challenges.
“He would show everyone that you got this, you got this. I believe in you; you got this,” said 12-year-old Veronica Richmond.
While some players remember the feeling of excitement of being on-field, others say they won’t forget the opportunity to ask and listen to Lindor take questions.
“My favorite part of his interview is they said if you weren’t a baseball player what would you do,” said 15-year-old Cory Michalec. “He said, ‘I would be a dentist. I like teeth.’ That was his answer.”
Although the excitement of All-Star week is beginning to fade, for this group, the memories will last a lifetime.