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Little League long ball - Waynesboro boy wins

June 29, 1998|By BOB PARASILITI

Jared Helman wanted the chance to walk in the shoes of his idol, Ken Griffey Jr.

The dream consisted of striding up to the plate with a big crowd behind him and a contest on the line in front of him, only to come through with the winning home run.

Helman jumped into those big spikes on Sunday and found them rather comfortable. In fact, he found out that he didn't need the whole shoe, especially since he was swinging from his heels.

Helman outdid Griffey five-fold with his long ball performance - highlighted by a string of three straight blasts - to best a field of eight 12-year-olds to win the first Little League Home Run Hitting Contest at Municipal Stadium.

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"I guess I know how Griffey feels now," said Helman, representing Grove Funeral Home and the Waynesboro Youth League. "I'm surprised. I can't figure out how I did it. I won, but I just had a great time."

The contest was sponsored by Play It Again Sports in conjunction with the Hagerstown Suns. Each player got 10 outs - any swing or contact that wasn't a homer - to drive balls over a temporary fence in the outfield.

Tom Hoffman of Play It Again Sports, said the contest was "a celebration of the area's love of baseball and Little League." Helman was the one who got to do all the celebrating.

Helman came to the plate trailing Greg Small of Halfway Little League and David Seibert of National Little League by three homers as the last first-round contestant.

Helman hit the first pitch over the left field fence to jump start his comeback. Five outs later, he ripped his second shot. Then, after his sixth out, Helman put the title away with three straight homers, saving the longest for last - a 300-foot blast that carried well over the 200-foot fence in dead center field.

"When those kids hit three each, I said, 'I'm not going to hit that many,'" said Helman, who has 11 homers this season. "Then I hit five. I was in a groove. I'm just shocked. This had been a great year for my team because we are in third place, and this just tops it all for me."

Seibert and Small had a five-out swing-off to decide second place. Seibert won 2-1, hitting two homers after scoring four straight outs.

"I felt good, but I was nervous at first," said Seibert, who has nine homers for the Elks.

William Mulieri of Federal Little League finished fourth with two homers, and Brett Hoffman of Greencastle Little League and Jeremy Fulks of South Mountain Little League were tied for fifth with one home run each. Kyle Robinson of American Little League and Joey Strong of Maugansville Little League also participated.

"This wasn't what I thought it would be like," said Seibert, who took extra hitting to get ready for the contest. "At first, I thought I lost when I saw all those big kids. Then I started to hit. I wanted to win, but being second is good enough."

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