Posted Date: 08/17/2017
By Quinton Bagley
Little River News
Any Ashdown Panther fan can tell you who Jaden Hill is. The senior has wowed fans on the football field and the baseball diamond the past few years but an opportunity Hill had in late July will be hard to top – a chance to pitch at Wrigley Field in Chicago.
“I pitched the week before in Atlanta, Ga., at the World Wooden Bat Association tournament and had a pretty good outing there,” Hill said. “I am assuming someone saw me there and relayed to the Baseball Factory team that I had the potential to participate in the Under Armour All-American Game.”
Over its 103 years of existence, some the greatest pitchers have stood on the mound at Wrigley Field. For a true baseball player like Hill there could be no better feeling than to stand where so many of the game’s greats had once stood.
“It was one of the greatest feelings I have ever experienced,” Hill said. “Being a high school athlete, there is not too much in the baseball world that can top being on top of the mound at Wrigley Field.”
As you might imagine Hill, the only player from Arkansas selected to play, had to face the jitters of such a large stage but he said once the action started it all went away.
“I was more in awe whenever I had arrived to the stadium and also while I was in the dugout during the game before I pitched,” Hill said. “Everyone gets nervous, and of course, I was as I jogged to the mound but once I grabbed the baseball, I realized that I was in this situation for a reason and I belonged there. From then on, it was just up to me to do what I practice.”
Things didn’t start out so well for Hill but once he found his groove he was in control. He started with a walk and then gave up a hit. He then struck out two and had a ground out to himself. He got all three outs in his inning to pitch.
“I started off struggling at first, and then got a ground out hit to me for the first out,” Hill said. “I gave up one run due to a passed ball but ended up getting myself out of the inning. It could’ve for sure been better, but I was happy with my outing.”
If pitching at Wrigley Field was not enough, Hill was flown from Chicago to Tampa, Fla., to pitch in the East Coast Pro where hundreds of Major League Baseball scouts were in attendance.
Hill has already committed to play collegiate baseball for the LSU Tigers. He said the opportunity to pitch at Wrigley Field will help when he walks into some of the ball parks around the SEC.
“I actually do because I have never pitched in front of that type of crowd before, and I think that being given that opportunity will help tremendously in the future,” Hill said.
With one year left of high school left, Hill said there was one thing he wanted to do before he left Ashdown High School.
“I want to be apart of the first male sport at Ashdown to win a state championship,” Hill said.
Last year Hill received tons of attention from some of the big name colleges across the country. Some wanted him to play football; others wanted him to play baseball. Hill said it was not easy but he felt that baseball was the best avenue for him.
“It was a difficult decision for me to choose between the two, but I think that baseball will give me the better opportunity in the future for my family and me,” Hill said. “It is something that I love doing, and I want to be great at it.”