By Calli Townsend
With runners on second and third, St. Clair first baseman Graham Parlardg stepped up to the plate. His team was leading in a close game with Ira Township, 7-5, in the bottom of the fourth on Tuesday, July 6.
“I was just trying to hit it up the middle for a single and I hit a home run,” Parlardg said.
He sailed the ball through center field to earn a trip around the bases and three RBI. The homer extended the team’s lead to 10-5.
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But this isn’t the only time Parlardg has shown such confidence and power under pressure.
“It’s crazy. We played these guys in a 10-year old tournament two years ago last time we did Districts and it was basically the same game,” St. Clair coach Matt Distelrath said. “It was the same thing, a close game and Graham hit a home run in that game too.”
Parlardg credits his teammates and their hard work for the success they’ve seen so far this season.
“I think the team’s been doing great, we’ve all worked our butts off this season,” Parlardg said. “We’ve had this dream since we were eight to win a state championship and we all think this is the season. It’s going to take all 13 of us, it’s not going to take just one or just me. It’s going to take all of us.”
In addition to hours of batting practice in the cages at the St. Clair Little League field, Parlardg said the team’s been trying some new drills this year too.
“We got introduced to these new bands this year to strengthen our arms so we’ve been doing those every day, and we’ve always done the ground balls where you dive into the mats, and that’s mostly it,” Parlardg said.”But it’s a lot of in the cage work and making sure we don’t mess up our swings.”
St. Clair won Tuesday’s District tournament game 10-6 in five innings before being stopped due to rain. The team is scheduled to play in the next round tonight, July 8, at 6 p.m against Marysville. The team could have as many as four more games after that en route to winning the District championship and earning a trip to the State tournament.
For Parlardg, it’s just more opportunities to play the game he loves with his friends and teammates.
“I’m really friends with all of them. We all just have fun and play baseball. A couple kids joined late, but I think all of us have been a team since we were seven,” he said. “I just think we’ve got to work our hardest and we’ll get to where we want to be.”