A high school home run derby was part of the All-Star Game festivities this past week. It showcased the top power hitters of the continent. Right there at the top of the list, is Dulles High School's Ron Washington Jr.
Washington finished tied with Toronto's Andrew Yerzy as the co-champions of Monday's home-run showdown. This was no ordinary ballpark for a high schooler to knock the ball out of. This was in a major league ballpark on one of the game's grandest stages.
"It was a mind-blowing experience," said Washington, who by the way, is not related to former Rangers manager Ron Washington. "Just from the moment I stepped on the field, stepped in the locker room, everyone was so nice. It was just very humbling and an exciting experience."
Washington noticed how another Houston-area prodigy, Luken Baker from Oak Ridge, won the high school home run derby during last year's All-Star festivities.
"I first heard about it (when) Luken Baker did it the year before me," Washington said. "I heard about it and I thought to myself, 'Man, what if I could go out there?' It never occurred to me that I could. And one day, I got the invite. I went out there and it was a great time."
While he was out there, Washington was able to meet some of the Major League All-Stars. Among them was Astros' All-Star second baseman Jose Altuve, who had some words of wisdom that Washington will remember.
"Stay calm - that was the biggest one," Washington said. "Just stay within yourself and do what you can do."
And so far, Washington has done plenty at a pretty young age. The outfielder is a verbal commitment to play baseball at the University of Texas. He can now add All-Star High School Home Run Derby co-champion to his resume as he continues to pursue his dream of one day making it back to a big-league ballpark, as a big leaguer.
"It was so surreal," Washington said. "It made me want it more."