FATHER’S DAY MENTOR SPECIAL
Eric Maxwell Emfinger
Four-Time All-American Baseball Player
And On Eight State Championships And Four National Championships!
By His Father-Mentor Max Emfinger
In The Photo, Eric (#13) Gets The Game-Winning Walk-Off Double For Covington St Paul, Louisiana in the Bottom of the Seventh Inning To Win The 1999 Louisiana 4A State Baseball Championship.
Eric Maxwell Emfinger was born in 1980 to Max and Ginger Emfinger. That was the year after I Founded The First High School Football Recruiting Service in 1979, so I was pretty busy around that time when he got started playing Baseball at Five, but I still became his Baseball Mentor in 1989.
Also about that same time, I changed his Batting Stance from Batting Right-Handed to Batting Left-Handed. All of the Little League Umpires would tell Eric to move to the other side, but he would always line-up on the left side of the plate, hit the plate with his bat, and then tell The Home-Plate Umpire that “My Dad says that I bat on this side.
Eric Gets His Baseball Mentor At Age Nine!
I also will never forget bringing Eric home when he was Nine, after his last Little League Baseball Game. “Dad, when are you going to start coaching me,” he asked and I will never forget saying: “Today!”
SIDEBAR I: Greg Schulte was One of My Super Scout Filming Assistants and he was Also on My Super Scouts Super Select Softball Team that Won Six Straight Houston Chronicle City Softball Championships from 1987-1992 and Ended a Six-Season Record with a 68-0 Record and Six Championships. The Super Scouts Defeated The Houston Oilers Twice in Tourneys and Scored 29 Runs in The Top of The First Inning in One Game. They were Awesome.
The next year, I became his Little League Baseball Coach and I then became his Mentor for about the next fifteen years. In that same year, I also took his 10-Year Old All-Star Team to The Texas Regional State Baseball Championship Tourney and this was One of Our Our First Miracles that we shared together as We Won that Regional 10-Year Old Baseball Championship Tournament.
Eric played a lot of different positions in Little League, but he was also a very dominant Pitcher. I taught Eric how to throw a Knuckle-Ball Pitch and it became one of his best pitches as a Pitcher. One night, in Quail Valley Little League, his Knuckle-Ball Pitch was so dominant, Eric Struck-Out 16 Batters. I Still think Eric holds that Quail Valley Pitching Record.
SIDEBAR Note II: In 1956, His Dad Struck-Out 16 Batters in Brownwood Little League and his Best Pitch was his Fastball.
From this point on, it’s pretty difficult to believe what happened next. When Eric was a 12-Year Old Little League All-Star, Coach Willie Hill and I took his Quail Valley Little League All-Star Team to The Texas Little League State Baseball Tournament in Waco, Texas where we came in Third-Place.
SIDEBAR III: In 1993, while we were in Waco, Texas for The Texas State Little League Baseball Championship, our Quail Valley Little League Team was housed on the Baylor University Campus in the Athletic Dormitory, Martin Hall. I was at Baylor University from 1962-1967 and I lived in Room 333. Then, in 1970, I went back to Baylor to work on my Masters Degree and I became the Assistant Athletic Dorm Director of Martin Hall and I lived in Room 333. So what Room do you think that Eric and I lived in for the Week that we were in Waco for the Little League State Baseball Championship. If you guessed Room 333, you would be correct.
We had a great Little League Baseball Season in 1993, when Eric was 12, but we really thought that we could win that Little League State Baseball Championship! We did finish Third which was still a great Feat. After we got back home, from Waco, Eric and I sat down and had a long talk and we both decided that we would try to make it to an Age-Group World Series Tournament and we set that as our Goal For The Very Next Baseball Season.
So then, when Eric was 13, I decided to start a Super Select Baseball Team. These Super Select Baseball Teams are pretty common now, but back in 1994, there were no such things like this anywhere in The Country. The Amazing Thing was that They did not start playing until the weekends after the High School Baseball Season was over. You have got to win a lot of Baseball Tournaments in May, June, and July to win 40 games in each Summer. The Biggest Miracle Ever For The Texas Lone Wolves Was That They Never Lost a Baseball Tournament in The State of Texas!
I took Eric and his 13-Year Old Super Select Team to The Continental Amateur Baseball Congress (CABA) World Series in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma in 1994; then his 14-Year Old (CABA) World Series in Columbus, Ohio in 1995; and finally his 15-Year Old (CABA) World Series in Chicago, Illinois in 1996.
The Miracles, in these three years, that we Qualified for all of those World Series Berths. We Qualified for only One World Series in 1994; but in 1995 and 1996, we Qualified for Three World Series in each Year. There were so many Miracles happening, with our Baseball Team, it would take another Story to tell all of them, but there were a couple times that we scored The Winning Run in the bottom of the last inning. We always Chose to play in The CABA World Series, because they were Double Elimination Tourneys and would guarantee us to be able to play more games than in the other World Series.
So Eric and I achieved our original goal of going to an Age-Group World Series as we participated in three of them. So after participating in those three Age-Group World Series before he turned 16, Eric and I decided to Re-Set our Goals again. This time, we Set our Goals to win an Age-Group World Series and also to make All-American. By this time, Eric had become an All-Star First Baseman, but he was also a Pitcher, sometimes in relief.
We moved to Louisiana in 1997 and He missed participating in an Age-Group World Series, that year, but you will not believe what happened The Next Year in 1998, just before his Senior Season/Year in Baseball at Covington Saint Paul’s High School. Another Incredible Miracle happened!
Eric was playing on a Super Select Baseball Team in Hammond, Louisiana called Bill Hood and they won The Louisiana Summer State Baseball Championship and qualified for a World Series Berth to the National Association Baseball Federation (NABF) World Series in Evansville, Indiana.
Then, at the first of August, Eric participated in The Rick Jones Tulane Baseball Camp and he won the Rick Jones Camp MVP Trophy. The Camp MVP Trophy Award gave Eric an invitation to play with The Brooklyn Dodgers Super Select Team in the CABA High School World Series in Euclid, Ohio. And so Eric was able to participate in two 1998 Age Group World Series in The Same Summer and I drove him to both World Series Championship Tournaments.
SIDEBAR IV: I might add that The Right Fielder on the Brooklyn Dodger Super Select Team was a player by the name of Josh Hamilton. Hamilton led The Brooklyn Dodger Super Select Team in Home-Runs and RBI’s as The Brooklyn Dodgers Super Select Team went undefeated with an 8-0 Record and became The 1998 CABA High School World Series Champions.
After the last game, I drove Eric, Cross-The-Country to Evansville, Indiana where he joined his Bill Hood Teammates and helped them to finish in Third Place, but don’t forget this 1998 Bill Hood Team, because they were just warming up for their 1999 NABF World Series Championship.
So, right after The 1998 CABA World Series Championship and 1998 NABF World Series, Eric played his Senior Baseball Season in High School, and his Covington St Paul’s Team Won The Louisiana 4A High School State Baseball Championship.
The Defensive Play of the Game for St Paul’s in that State Championship Game and also The Defensive Play of the Year took place in the top of The Seventh Inning in a 3-3 tie game. Baton Rouge Woodlawn had The Winning Run on second base with two outs and their batter hit The Winning Single to right field, but wait. Another Miracle Happened!
Our Right Fielder, Ron Allen, quickly came up with the ball and fired a perfect strike to Eric at First Base and Eric then turned and fired another perfect strike to our Catcher, Evan Gremillion, who tagged out the runner before he could score The Winning Run. St Paul’s Winning Head Coach, Rick Mauldin, said, “That play at the plate in the top of The Seventh Inning was The Play of The Game and of the Year and It was truly Another Miracle!”
Then, in the bottom of The Seventh Inning, of The 4A State Baseball Championship Game, Andrew Mauldin, Coach Mauldin’s Son, Doubled with two outs, bringing-up our #3 Batter Chuck Hickman. Instead of pitching to Hickman, who was also our All-State Shortstop, Woodlawn decided to Intentionally Walk him and pitch to Eric, who was our #4 Cleanup Hitter.
“Hickman is one of the best players in The State of Louisiana and I felt that we needed to Intentionally Walk him and pitch to Emfinger,” said Woodlawn Head Coach Dru Nettles. “It would also give us a chance for a force-out at any base.”
So Eric came to the plate in the bottom of The Seventh Inning with the game tied at 3-3 and The Game-Winning Run on Second Base with two outs. Before Eric got to the plate, Woodlawn changed Pitchers, and two or three of his St Paul’s Teammates had a little break in-time and they embraced Eric and collectively said: “This is the reason that you Transferred here to St Paul’s and you know exactly what to do!”
The Woodlawn Pitcher tried to throw Eric some outside pitches, but he definitely did not want to give Eric anything good to hit. Then, on a 2-2 count, the Woodlawn Pitcher threw a ball way-outside, trying to get Eric to go for it, but Eric reached out and hit a double to the Opposite Left-Field that brought in Garrett Acquistapace, who was a Pinch-Runner for Andrew Mauldin, with “The Game-Winning-Walkoff Run” and a 4-3 victory and The Louisiana 4A State Baseball Championship.
As Coach Rick Mauldin said: “This was The Dream and The Miracle of a Lifetime that we had always talked about, but for Eric Emfinger, it was ever so very, very Special.”
SIDEBAR V: When Eric was a Junior, everyone needs to know how his Baseball Coach Steve Driscol, at Hammond High School had told him before he Transferred to St Paul’s for his Senior Season that he would never become a great player. Coach Driscol ragged on Eric all of the time, and then started cutting his playing time, and so Eric and I decided that it would be in his best interest To Transfer for his Senior Season and so we did. Eric also really wanted to prove to him and any other doubters that he was A Great Player and that they were wrong. Driscol also said that it was not his job to help players to get College Scholarships.
Incredible Baseball Story
One of the most interesting and most intriguing things, of all time, happened at our house, or away from it, on the night before The State Championship Game on Friday Night. Also remember that Eric did this without his Mom or Dad knowing about it and we did not find out about it until St Paul Parents started coming-up to us at Eric’s Graduation on Sunday. These Parents were congratulating us on such a great Newspaper Article in The Newspaper about Eric leaving our house on Thursday Night before The State Championship Game on Friday.
The Article read that Eric had Sneaked-Out of our house on Thursday Night and went over to The St Paul’s Baseball Field at 11:30 P.M., in the dark by himself, and stood at Home Plate and dreamed of hitting a Home-run to win the game for St Paul on Friday Night and then walked the bases, in the dark. Eric did not hit a Home-run, to win the game, but his Dream really, really came true for him and for The Whole St Paul’s Baseball Team. Eric will definitely, most definitely remember that moment for the rest of his life. It was another Miracle in The Top of the Seventh Inning and again in The Bottom of the Seventh Inning.
“This is the best that it could ever be, said Coach Mauldin. “It was My 300th Victory, at home, for The State Baseball Championship and my son Andrew Mauldin was the pitcher. I also remember that it was 20-years, almost to the day that I was an Assistant Coach at New Orleans Jesuit when they won The Louisiana 5A State Championship and I found out that I was coming to St Paul’s.”
In 13 Month Span, Eric Was On Three State Championships And One World Series Championship!
In that 13 month span, Eric Emfinger was on Three Louisiana Baseball State Championships (1999 St Paul’s High School and 1998 and 1999 Bill Hood) and Two World Series National Championships (1998 CABA and 1999 NABF). Eric was The 1999 All-State First Baseman for St Paul’s and 1999 All-American First Baseman for Bill Hood.
After The St Paul’s State Championship and The NABF World Series Championship, Eric enrolled at Bossier Parish Community College. Bossier Head Coach, Jay Artigues, put together one of the greatest Junior College Baseball Recruiting Classes in the Country.
The Bossier Parish Baseball Team HAD NEVER participated in a Regional Baseball Tournament in the History of the School. Eric was a member of a very Special Group of Baseball Players that not only participated in The Regional XXIII Baseball Tournament for two years, but They Won 87 Games in those two years. They also nearly made it to The Junior College World Series in both 2000 and 2001. Eric also started at First Base in every single game in that two year period.
SIDEBAR VI: I might add that Bossier Parish had never participated in another Regional XXIII Baseball Tournament since The 2001 Baseball Season. In one of The Regional Tournament Games in Mississippi, Eric hit a Home-Run over The Right Field Fence that was measured to have traveled over 450-Feet and The Baseball Was Never Found.
It actually gets better. In 2001, Eric was the Youngest member, at 21, of The Houma Semi-Pro Baseball Southland Hogs who were The United States Baseball Congress (USBC) World Series Runners-Up and in that World Series, Eric had The Most Hits and The Most RBI’s in The World Series Tournament and he was Voted All-American First Team First Baseman.
In the Photo, Eric is holding his 2001 USBC Trophies for Most Hits and Most RBI’s; plus his 2001 World Series All-American Plaque. The Houma Southland Hogs finished as Runners-Up again in 2002, and Eric made The All-American Team Again, but then in 2003, The Hogs were The USBC World Series Champions and Eric again was Voted to The USBC All-American Team. In 2004, Eric Participated with The Hattiesburg Heat out of Hattiesburg, Mississippi in The National Baseball Congress (NBC) World Series in Wichita, Kansas.
Eric was A Member Of Four World Championships And Was Selected To Four All-American Teams!
As his Mentor, from 1994 until 2004, Eric Participated in 10 Age-Group World Series and Was a Member of Four World Championship Teams, including CABA in 1998; NABF in 1999; and USBC in 2002 and 2003. Eric was also Selected to Four All-American Teams, including NABF in 1999; USBC in 2001, 2002, and 2003.
We need to put these World Series Baseball Stats into Perspective. Millions of Baseball Players NEVER get a chance to play in a Single Age-Group World Series, much-less Ten. Also, one out of a Million Baseball Players will get a chance to play in One and One out of 100M might get a chance to play in Two Age-Group World Series.
This Famous Photo of Eric Emfinger at League Stadium in Evansville, Indiana is in 2001. The situation is in The Top of The Ninth Inning For The Houma Hogs with Two Out and the Bases Loaded, as Eric hit another Winning Walkoff Double off The Right Field Wall, bringing in All Three Runs.
SIDEBAR VII: This Famous League Stadium was only built in 1992, but League Stadium looks much older than this. The reason for this is simple; it was built as a Movie Set for The Famous Movie “A League Of Their Own” and Eric participated in Four World Series in this Stadium, including 1998 NABF; plus 2001, 2002, and 2003 USBC.
Sometimes, Eric and I were not always on the same page at first, but we were always able to get on the same page together. All of his Baseball Success and his Baseball Miracles did not come without a lot of hard work and dedication to our Baseball Goals not only in our Baseball Life, but also in The Lord. Our Motto Was Always: “Expect A Miracle!” We Always Expected A Miracle and many times A Miracle would happen.
“Little Max” Emfinger With His Paw Paw, Big Max Emfinger Sitting In Front Of His Dad’s 44 Tournament Baseball Trophies!