A 12-year-old Thomson student saw the results of training pay off as he was selected to be a part of a team to play in the Little League World Series this summer.
Howard “Tre” Lazenby, a seventh grader at Thomson-McDuffie Middle School, played in the USSSA Little League series in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina in June.
Lazenby did not know that he was being “scouted” for little league championship play while playing travel baseball, first with the MBA Warriors and then with the Georgia RiverCats in Evans. The coach of the Great Day Tigers, an 11 U team that was working to play in the USSSA games, observed Lazenby’s play asked him to join his team when his season with the RiverCats ended.
Lazenby accepted. He feared playing in the Little League World Series but at the same time he was excited to meet new people and see others play in the USSSA Little League series.
“I overcame the fear and played ball,” he said. “I felt good about it because I met many people and being asked to participate showed that my hard work was paying off.”
While the Great Day Tigers won four games, they did not win in the championship series. “I felt good about playing and participating because not too many from Thomson, at my age, get recruited to play in the USSSA Little League World Series. It felt good to play in the championship area.”
Lazenby said he has known from an early age that baseball is his professional path. He began his foray into sports by playing football. “I got hurt and switched to baseball,” he said. “It is the most fun sport for me.”
Howard and Jackie Lazenby said they knew that their son was going to be great in baseball when he was 2 years old but they did not push him toward it. “We wanted him to make the decision. Not us,” Jackie Lazenby said.
According to Howard Lazenby, his son’s interest in baseball was peaked at age 7 or 8 years old and he began playing travel ball.
“He skipped a season and when he was 10, he decided to pursue baseball fulltime. He has been at it full strength, full time,” said Lazenby who works with his son every afternoon on something related to baseball.
“I help him and it is a great way to spend time with my son. He loves it and I push him, and sometimes I may push too hard,” he said.
They spend hours at the batting cage or working on drills or other baseball techniques. “I do something baseball related everyday. I get a real workout at least five days a week,” Tre Lazenby said.
After school, Lazenby returns to his Harrison Drive home at 4:10 p.m. and he eats, does homework and chores. Howard Lazenby gets home from work at 4:30 and after a bit of relaxing, and confirming that all homework is done, father and son get into baseball mode and head off to train.
“Baseball is one sport you have to work at. There are so many things involved and you have to work on daily,” Howard Lazenby said. They return home at around 7:30 p.m. and its free time and a snack until 9:30 p.m. bedtime.
Lazenby enjoys hitting the ball, throwing people out and making plays. He plays shortstop, second base and pitches. He said his current pitching speed in between 55 and 60 mph. “The circle changeup is my favorite pitch.” He is also a switch hitter.
Howard Lazenby hopes that his son’s discipline and nature and his teachings would take his son to college on a full ride scholarship and then to his goal of playing professional baseball.
“I want to play for the Atlanta Braves,” Tre Lazenby said. “Ronald Acuna Jr., is my favorite player and he is on the team,” he said. “I also want to play for the Braves because they are close to home.”
A stand with trophies, ribbons and buttons that outline Tre Lazenby's baseball journey may be seen every time he comes home or enters the family room. “That also encourages me,” Lazenby said.
Jackie Lazenby said although baseball training and playing takes focus, academics is most important. “He works really hard because he knows that school comes before everything,” she said. Tre Lazenby is a constant AB honor roll student and this year, he was invited to become a member of the school’s Beta Club.
“He is just a good kid overall. The teachers speak highly of him,” Jackie Lazenby said of her son. She said Tre Lazenby is also loving and generous. For example, he recently gave his football equipment to a child whose parents could not afford to purchase any. “He could have sold it but he chose to give it. He has a huge heart,” she said. Both parents also spoke of how Tre’ likes to save his money to be a frequent secret Santa.
Howard Lazenby said the opportunity to play in the USSSA Little League World Series was an opportunity that fell into his son's lap. “He did well. It was a great opportunity to see and play against kids his age from around the nation.”
He said it was nerve wracking to watch his son play on a new team. “I just wanted him to enjoy it and do what we worked on day in and day out.”
Jackie Lazenby was happy that her son broadened his experience by playing in the USSSA Little League World Series. “I wanted him to get the experience of going out of town and seeing how others play. I wanted him to get more exposure,” she said.
Lazenby’s grades and ability were recently recognized when the Joe Nathan Foundation awarded him a scholarship to participate in a baseball camp at Georgia Southern University. He joined other rising sixth through ninth graders in learning more about baseball fundamentals and skills development. He also won second place in the homerun derby, another baseball event.
The Great Day Tigers are based in Savannah and the distance from Thomson to Savannah prevented Lazenby to continue with the team. He is now a member of the Thomson Yard Dog Travel Ball team and the middle school team.
“People are paying attention to him,” Howard Lazenby said,
According to Lazenby, the community is proud of him. “A lot of people brag about me. They see how hard I work and they want to see me do well,” he said.
The encouragement he receives makes him work harder. He said he also embraces the fact that he was set aside to be different. “I’m different because I work hard,” Lazenby said.