Harry Dill is no stranger to miracles. Less than nine months ago he defied the odds and overcame adversity in the form of a brain tumor.
So when he stepped to the plate with the score tied, a runner on and two out in the final inning, he was ready to produce a baseball miracle. Dill delivered something out of a Disney movie.
The 13-year-old blasted his third home run of the game to lead the Newport Beach Major Division All-Stars past Lake Forest/Saddleback, 12-10, in the first game of the District 55 All-Star tournament Saturday.
"Unbelievable, especially after what he's been through," Rick Dill said of his son's home run. "It was probably the most magical moment that Harry's ever had in Little League."
Harry still remembers the date of his surgery to remove the brain tumor.
"Nov. 14, 2011," he says.
It was a scary time back then, but Harry left the people around him believing in miracles.
The brain tumor was discovered after a follow-up from X-rays at his dentist's office. Just think if his orthodontist never recommended Harry to have his impacted tooth removed. Upon those X-rays a mysterious dark spot was revealed. And after further imaging the brain tumor was found.
Fortunately for Harry, the tumor grew away from the brain and into an open space that made the tumor operable.
His doctor said it was miraculous.
A day before the surgery, Harry was providing more magical moments. He played in two games and hit a home run in each one for his winter-ball team.
"What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, I guess," Harry said of his remarkable story. "It was tough, but I got through it, and it made me a better person."
Harry had not ever hit three home runs in a game until Saturday. He finished the game with eight runs batted in. He also saved a couple runs by snaring two line drives at first base.
But it's the third home run that will be Harry's lifelong highlight.
"It was great," Harry said of the third homer. "I was kind of surprised. I didn't think I could do it all in one game. And I did. I was kind of laughing on the way to first base."
Harry, who will attend Corona del Mar High in the fall, has helped the Newport Beach All-Stars reach the championship semifinals. They'll play against Aliso Viejo Saturday at 7 p.m. at Woodfield Park in Aliso Viejo.
Winning the first two games in the District 55 tournament is rare for a Newport Beach All-Stars Majors team. This could be a special team.
The Newport Beach All-Stars opened the District 55 All-Star tournament with a 4-0 lead in the first game, but later had to rally from a 10-8 deficit. Matt Thompson earned the win as the starter with a stellar performance that included eight strikeouts. He allowed seven hits, three walks and one earned run in 5 2/3 innings.
Tyler Flood picked up the save, striking out the only batter he faced in the bottom of the sixth inning. Justin Welling hit a home run in the victory.
Freddy Bloom helped lead Newport Beach to a 3-1 win over Laguna Hills on Monday. He held Laguna Hills to two hits and one run over five innings, that included six strikeouts and one walk.
Newport Beach had just three hits. Thompson had the biggest hit of all, as he cleared the bases with a line shot to left field for all of Newport Beach's runs.
Dill had a double and Grant Joyce had a single.