Eleven-year-old Nick Runde envisions having the perfect swing every time he steps to the plate.
In the eyes of the Braden River Little League 10- and-11-year-old all-star, the perfect swing can mean the difference between a hit and a homerun and ultimately a win and a loss. So what exactly does the perfect swing look like?
If you ask Runde, Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria is a textbook example.
“I just love his swing,” Runde said. “Right off the bat when he hits it, you know it’s going to be a homerun.”
On July 17, the Braden River catcher showed off his version of the perfect swing, crushing a two-run homerun to deep center field.
“Really, I just tried to make contact and then everything else just comes together naturally,” Runde said of his blast.
Runde went 1-for-2 on the night as Braden River fell to Manatee East 8-5 in the best-of-three championship series.
Following in the footsteps of his older brother, Alex, Runde began playing baseball when he was 4 years old. He started playing T-ball for Braden River and gradually worked his way through the system.
This year, Runde was selected to his second all-star team, having played on the 9- and 10-year-old all-star team last season.
“It kind of makes you feel special because you got picked out of everyone in the entire league,” Runde said.
Runde maintained a .500 batting average through eight games with 10 hits, including four homeruns — two of which were grand slams in the same game — 18 RBIs and 11 runs scored.
Runde also threw out 11 runners while playing catcher in seven of the eight games, leading Braden River to a 4-4 record.
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Members and guests of the Lakewood Ranch Women’s Club ventured Dec. 4 to Orlando, to view holiday decorations at the Grand Floridian and to have lunch at Downtown Disney.
The Play Readers of the Asolo Repertory Theatre Guild were in fine form as they entertained at the Art Association of Palm-Aire’s opening winter luncheon with “Fractured Fairy Tales.”
Catapulting into first place
Seven Manatee County elementary schools competed in the countywide Technology Student Association catapult competition Nov. 16, at Southeast High School. Students built the catapults on-site.