OUTSIDE BALTIMORE, MD -- If only Little League had instant replay.
Cristian Banks, a 7-year-old Fullerton Elementary student, completed a rare unassisted triple play on May 3. Coach Marty Neff, who has been involved with the White Marsh Recreation Council for the past 10 years, said it was the first time he's seen it done by one of his players.
It's unusual outside of Little League, as well. According to MLB.com, only 15 unassisted triple plays have been recorded in Major League Baseball history.
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Neff described the play, which lasted only seconds:
"With the bases loaded and Cristian playing third base, the batter hit a line drive that Cristian moved to his right to catch for the first out. When the ball was hit, the runners on both second base and third base took off. After catching the line drive, Cristian tagged the runner coming from second base for the second out. He then tagged third base, completing the unassisted triple play."
"We cheered when he caught the ball and were yelling for him to tag him, but the last out was instinctive," Neff said. "It was an incredible play. It took a few seconds for us to realize what had happened. Then we gathered the kids together and explained it."
Neff added that teams in the 7-8 year old range don't keep score or track wins—play doesn't get competitive until the next age range.
Cristian, who has been playing since he was 4, is a member of the council's in-house team and the White Marsh Travel Team.
"It felt awesome," Cristian said. "I was happy the inning was over fast."
Cristian's father, Jeff Banks, a Baltimore County police officer, said he felt fortunate to be volunteering on the bench at the time.
"It was a lot of fun," Banks said. "He and his teammates had a good time, although I'm not sure how much they understood what had happened.
"In the car driving home was when it really hit him," Banks said.
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