Forgive Tommy Hansen if he’s at a loss for words. After all, it’s hard to describe something that’s never been done before.
Hansen etched his name into the high school baseball history books Friday, hitting three consecutive grand slams in Roncalli’s 12-1 win over Metamora Township (Ill.).
He became the first high school baseball player to accomplish the feat. Five other players have hit three nonconsecutive grand slams in a high school baseball game.
“It’s kind of crazy. Kind of surreal,” the sophomore said.
It’s even more surreal when considering that Hansen’s varsity career is just six games old. He didn’t hit a single home run last year as a member of the freshman team.
This year, he has five in six games.
“When you get into that rhythm and you’ve already gotten a few hits and barreled a few up, it comes easier,” Hansen said. “You know how to do it.”
Want more crazy? He came a few feet away from hitting four grand slams in a row.
During the first of Roncalli’s two games in Louisville, Ky., on Friday, Hansen came up with the bases loaded in the seventh inning. He doubled off the top of the fence.
He made up for the near-miss in the first inning of the next game, giving the Rebels a 4-0 lead with one swing. After he hit his second one an inning later, his teammates congratulated the runners who crossed the plate ahead of him while giving Hansen the silent treatment. He came up with the bases loaded in the fourth inning. Surely he couldn’t do it again … right?
“When he came up to bat for the third time, I told the player we had on third base, ‘If he does this again, it’s going to be unbelievable,’” Rebels coach Aaron Kroll said.
“By the time the third one happened, everyone was just laughing,” Hansen said. “This is crazy. The other coach just tipped his helmet and shook my hand.”
Hansen said he didn’t do anything drastically different during the offseason that would have led to a power surge. Maybe it was the sleds.
During the offseason, Hansen’s workout regimen included pushing sleds weighed down with 200-300 pounds. He’d push, and push and push. His legs got strong. That made his swing stronger.
“He’s gotten a lot bigger and stronger,” Rebels coach Aaron Kroll said of his cleanup hitter. “We had a good idea of what type of player we thought he’d become. He’s got tremendous bat speed and a really good eye at the plate.”
After the game, Hansen had plenty of texts from friends and family as the news of his heroics made the rounds on social media. Now, several other records might be in striking distance.
The Indiana record for home runs in a season is 21, and Hansen is on pace to hit 20 by the end of the regular season. The Indiana record for grand slams in a season is four and the national record is seven.
Lofty goals? Sure. But so is hitting three grand slams in a row.
Before the team wrapped up its Louisville trip with another game Saturday, it took a sightseeing trip to a place that probably made Hansen feel right at home: the Louisville Slugger Museum.