To some spectators, it might have looked as if Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera was trotting around the base paths at Legacy Park in St. Clair.
That’s just how dominant and overpowering 12-year-old Parker Griffor was.
The St. Clair 12-and-under Little League second baseman and pitcher went 17 of 21 from the plate last week with five home runs. His effort was enough to propel St. Clair to a district championship and a spot in this week’s state championships.
For his performance, Griffor is the Times Herald’s Athlete of the Week.
“Parker came up absolutely huge,” St. Clair coach Tim Gleason said. “Every time we needed something to happen, Parker did it.
“In the field he always has played first and third, but we had to move him to second base, and he did a great job.”
The district title was the first for the team, after falling to Ira Township three consecutive years.
“It meant a lot,” Griffor said. “We put a lot of work in to get there. To finally go to states is big. It’s been our goal since we were 9-and-10 (years-old).
“I just knew I had to step up. If we wanted to win, everyone had to do their part.”
St. Clair advanced out of its region the hard way. It was sent to the losers bracket after suffering a 4-3 walk-off loss to Ira Township. But the team battled back to advance to the semifinal round, where it defeated Ira Township 7-0 on Saturday and then beat them again 8-7 in Sunday’s rubber match.
“I think we were able to pull it off by just working extra hard in practice,” Griffor said. “We have been working together and playing as a team.”
St. Clair will travel to Muskegon for the state tournament, which begins Thursday and runs through July 23. St. Clair meets Northeast Midland at 12:30 p.m. Friday in a Pool B opener.
“I think the key will be sticking together as a team,” Griffor said. “We have to keep hitting the ball and not thinking a lot. We have to play our game and not try to do anything special.
“I feel like winning (districts) will give us a lot of momentum and confidence. It really showed us what we can do.”