GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — None of us know when Major League Baseball will return this year, so a lot of us are craving baseball highlights. A player from Gwinnett County is finding ways to fill that void.
Going into a tournament last weekend, 11-year-old Walker Haywood had never hit a home run. That all changed with his first at-bat in the first game.
“I just wanted to put the ball in play. I didn’t really know it was going over. It’s crazy,” Haywood told Channel 2′s Alison Mastrangelo.
By the end of the weekend, Haywood hit not one, not two, but six home runs in a span of two days.
“Home runs come in like a tidal wave. You don’t see that many. But they start coming because the kid’s confidence starts getting so sky high,” said Brandon Murray.
The head coach for the Devine baseball 11U team was right. Haywood’s confidence was growing, but Murray had no idea what was in store for him.
In the same game in his next at-bat, Haywood smashed another dinger with his mom unable to contain her excitement. His dad was also very proud.
“Probably biggest emotional high of my life. I’ve always known Walker could be great,” Daniel Haywood said.
In the second game, the trend continues. He smacked another home run out of the park.
By the end of Saturday night, Walker had hit four home runs in three games. He wanted to make sure his success carried over into Sunday.
“That night I went to bed happy. I was praying to do it again. I slept with my bat.” Haywood said.
The first game on Sunday and fourth of the weekend, Walker didn’t hit a home run. But he made some adjustments and by the fifth game, he was rewarded with his fifth of the tournament.
Devine baseball advanced to the championship game. The team found itself down by three with bases loaded. Haywood broke his bat and had to borrow a teammate’s.
“I wasn’t so sure it was going to happen. Two balls one strike and then next pitch, I hit it out.”
Haywood connected for a walk-off grand slam, completing his six home runs in six games. It’s a weekend Haywood and his team will always remember.
“When he hit, I went “That’s gone!” His teammates went crazy, the crowd went nuts,” Murphy said. “That’s what you live for as a coach is to see moments like that.”
Haywood got some cool souvenirs as he was able to keep all six home run balls. He also got a championship ring and the coaches decided to give him the team trophy in honor of his epic performance.
The home runs were also an early birthday present. Haywood turned 12 Friday.
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