All American Game : : Story
Friday, July 31, 2009

LaKind will use both hands in Aflac game

Jim Ecker        
Jared LaKind wasn't trying to show-boat or disrespect the pitcher. He just wanted to play, but with a broken left thumb he wasn't able to grip the bat with both hands. That's why he swung the bat with only one arm that day ... and lined a single to right-center.

You can see the video of LaKind's base hit on his MySpace site.

"That was during fall baseball," he said. "I broke my thumb on my throwing arm. I wanted to play, and it was a wood-bat tournament."

LaKind, who is left-handed, broke his thumb playing football at Cy-Woods High School in Cypress, Texas, but that didn't prevent him from playing baseball in the tournament. He wrapped his left hand and gave it a shot.

LaKind stepped in the left-handed batter's box, as normal. He gripped the wood bat with just his right hand, with his left hand entirely free.

"It was my first at-bat. It was kind of funny," he said.

He took a nice, level swing and got a clean base hit.

"Everybody was cheering. Everyone but the pitcher," he said. "It was funny. Actually, it was a 3-2 count and I guess he didn't want to walk me."

LaKind had four at-bats in that game. "I struck out every other time," he reported. "Oh, well. I got that one hit."

LaKind is an outfielder, pitcher and first baseball who has committed to Arkansas. His thumb is perfectly fine now and he'll be swinging with both hands at the Aflac All-American High School Classic at PETCO Park in San Diego on Aug. 16. He's looking forward to the game.

"It's a great accomplishment," he said. "I always dreamed of it. It's kind of cool."

LaKind stopped playing football after his sophomore year in high school, and not just because of the broken thumb.

"My junior year, I had to make a decision," he said. "A lot of people were telling me the junior year is your biggest year (for baseball)."

LaKind was the backup quarterback on the varsity as a sophomore when the injury occurred. "There was no blocking," he said. "I threw, the guy hit me and I broke it."

There's a history of baseball in LaKind's family. His grandfather reached Double-A ball in the Milwaukee Braves organization in the 1950s, his father played at Montclair State in New Jersey and his uncle played at Rutgers, also in New Jersey.

"My dad moved down here to Texas," he said. "He couldn't stand the cold anymore."
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