LAKEWOOD RANCH — Desmond Lindsay remembers the home run as if it were yesterday.
With one swift swing of the bat, the ball sailed 502 feet, setting an international record and propelling a 16-year-old sophomore to greatness.
It was 2009 and Lindsay, who was only in sixth grade at the time, watched in awe as Bryce Harper first cemented his path to the major leagues.
Now, five years later, The Out-of-Door Academy junior first baseman is drawing inspiration from Harper, as he prepares to step into the batter’s box and swing one step closer to fulfilling a lifelong dream.
Lindsay was one of 20 players from across the country chosen to represent the United States in the 2014 Power Showcase All-World/All-American Baseball Classic Jan. 2 through Jan. 5, at Marlins Park, in Miami.
The event showcases the most prolific amateur baseball players in the world; they represent 20 countries from Africa to Europe.
During the Power Showcase, Lindsay also will compete in the Home Run Derby.
“It was exciting,” Lindsay says. “I heard a lot about it growing up. I saw Bryce Harper hit his home run, and now I’m going to be doing the same thing he had done at my age.”
Now, Lindsay is preparing to showcase his talents while giving back to the one organization that gave him the opportunity to further his baseball career.
Lindsay is partnering with the Taylor Emmons Scholarship Fund to raise money through his performance and participation in the Power Showcase.
Each player was asked to pick a charity they wanted to sponsor. In doing so, the charity would receive a signed and dated baseball to commemorate the player’s first home run.
But Lindsay has decided to take it one step further. Lindsay is reaching out to the community for pledges in the hopes of raising $10,000 for the Taylor Emmons Scholarship Fund.
“The scholarship means a lot to me,” says Lindsay, who received the first Taylor Emmons Scholarship in 2011. “Without the Emmons family, I wouldn’t be here. They’ve played such an inspirational role in my life growing up; and I couldn’t think of any other way to do it.”
Those interested in participating can sponsor Lindsay through a Home Run Derby Pledge, which is based on his performance in the Home Run Derby. Sponsors can pledge a pre-determined amount, such as per foot the ball is hit, with the longest home run counting.
Residents also can make a Grand Slam Pledge by donating $500 or more to Lindsay’s participation in the Home Run Derby. Grand Slam Pledge sponsors also will receive an invitation to dine with Lindsay.
“It means a lot,” Mike Emmons says. “One of the things we talk about when we meet with the kids who are getting help is to not only get a good education but to give back and help other kids who are in the same boat they are in.
“It’s really neat for Desmond to be able to do it this quickly,” Emmons says. “This is a great platform for him to do it on, and to have it coincide with him committing to the University of North Carolina is huge. It’s a great opportunity.”
Lindsay’s furthest home run to date is 400 feet, but, for Lindsay, who verbally committed to the University of North Carolina this summer, the experience of playing in a major league ballpark with the world’s elite is enough of a reward.
“I just want to go out and have fun,” Lindsay says. “I want to win, but it won’t be the end of the world if I don’t.”
For more information and to become a pledge sponsor, visit Desmond Lindsay Home Run Derby on Facebook or contact Robin Lindsay at 941-962-1626. For more information on the 2014 Power Showcase visit www.powershowcase.com.
Contact Jen Blanco at [email protected].