The first time Ethan Bloom ever picked up at bat at Hoffman Estates, the coaches knew he was going to be special. And he wasn't even in high school yet.
"I got an excited phone call from one of my assistants," explained Hoffman Estates coach Todd Meador. "We were running a summer camp. And one of those kids just took one of assistant coaches deep."
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That call came from Derek Fivelson, who is now the head coach at Conant. His excitement stemmed from the fact that Bloom, who had just graduated from junior high, had taken Cal Seely, who is now the head coach at Schaumburg and a former star high school pitcher, over the fence.
That moment was just the start of a fabulous high school career for Bloom, which is culminated by being named honorary captain of the Daily Herald's Northwest all-area team.
But Bloom can't recall the play at all.
"I was more concentrated in winning that scrimmage, so I don't remember it," Bloom said.
"I just want to play baseball. Try to not think about positives. It is a humbling game. I have learned to stay humble and not to be too happy about your highs and not too low about your lows."
No wonder Bloom, who will play at Lewis University this fall, plans to study psychology.
"That's what coach Meador was big on," Bloom said. "He spent a lot of time teaching skills about life. Those are all good things to do when you have a wife and kids."
Bloom really was still a kid when he got called up to the varsity from the freshman team just four games into the high school season.
"Fivelson, who was the freshman coach, took me aside and said this kid doesn't belong on his team," Meador said. "Soon after he moved up he proved he belonged when he homered against Conant. We knew then that we had something special."
That special ability was huge this season for the Hawks, as Bloom led his team to the regional final.
Bloom hit .457 on a school-record 49 hits. He also had 5 home runs, 14 doubles, drove in 21 runs and had a staggering .765 slugging percentage.
And he was also the go-to guy on the mound, making 16 appearances and finishing with a 7-4 record and an ERA of 2.29, which rose nearly a point against South Elgin in the regional final.
"I really wasn't a pitcher," Bloom said. "But we needed one and so I did it the last two years.
"It was a hot day and my arm was tired. I had a good year. It was shame that our team couldn't go further. I think it was good year altogether."
And it was a great career that has translated into plenty of records at Hoffman Estates.
He holds the school record for at bats (376), hits (153), home runs (21), doubles (39) and runs scored (84). He also was second in career batting average (.407), RBI (78) and walks (42).
"He is one of the most complete players you will ever see," Meador said. "It was not just power, batting average or walks. He did everything very, very well . That is what is most impressive."
Meador said Bloom will be impossible to replace.
"No team can replace a kid like this," Meador said. "What he brings to our team in offense, defense, pitching and overall attitude can't be measured. It is a huge loss for our program and for the school as well."
Besides banging out hits, Bloom likes to bang on the drum all day. A talented drummer, Bloom played in Hoffman's marching band, concert band, was a member of the musical pit orchestra for one year and appeared in the school's talent show.
Bloom says all he has time for are school work, baseball and drumming.
"I barely have time for video games," Bloom said. "It has been playing drums since I was 7. It is a big part of my life.
"I really love to play. One of the reasons I chose Lewis because I could play drums and keep it in my life."
Meador says he expects Bloom to form a band when he heads to college.
"It wouldn't surprise me at all," Meador said. "He talked about meeting a bunch of guys in college and putting a band together. And he is the kid who would do that."
But according to Meador, Bloom is not the typical musician.
"He is about well raised and polite as a teenager can be," Meador said. "He is a happy kid and very well respected by his peers and teachers."
Bloom said it was easy to make the right decisions, whether it came to playing in a band or playing baseball.
"I try to associate myself with good people," Bloom said.
That may go all the way back to when he learned how to play baseball in the back yard of his grandpa's home.
"He taught me the game," Bloom said. "He would pitch whiffle balls to me when I was younger and I would try to hit them over his garage. I was able to hit them over a lot. But I also put a few dents in his garage as well."
He dented lots of baseballs at Hoffman. He hit .450 his sophomore year with 9 homers and .386 last year as junior when he knocked out 6 home runs.
His big games have carried the Hawks to some huge wins.
This season, Bloom went 2-for-4 with a double and a 3-run homer as his team handed a late season 5-4 loss to Libertyville, just one of three losses the Wildcats had all season.
Last year in the state playoffs, Bloom pitched and hit his team over second-seeded Batavia in the state playoffs.
"Look at his career," Meador said. "No injuries, no discipline problems. He has never missed a practice or a game over the last 4 years. He takes care of his body and committed to making good choices."
But even when those days go bad, like they can in baseball, Bloom knows just what to do.
"I'll just go and bang on my drums, "Bloom said. "It just really takes your mind off of things when you beat on the drums. Especially when you aren't having a good day."