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East County Wednesday, Jul. 22, 2009 8 years ago

Athlete of the Week: Nick Runde

by: Jen Blanco Sports Editor

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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