CEDAR LAKE | Not only was Lawden Coduti treated like a big leaguer, he was nearly mistaken as a movie star.
"Look, the kid from 'The Rookie,'" one of the Hanover Central varsity baseball players observed as 6-year-old Lawden resembles a younger version of Thomas Ian Nicholas, the star of the baseball movie.
Lawden and 12-year-old Danny Austgen were chosen to throw out the first pitches before the Wildcats' May 13 home game against Clark. It was part of the festivities for Hanover Central's inaugural Cedar Lake Little League Day.
"This is a win-win situation for both us and the league," said Wildcats baseball coach Doug Nelson, whose team went on to defeat the Pioneers 12-2.
"A lot of our players grew up playing in the Cedar Lake Little League," said Nelson, whose team recently won its third-straight Porter County Conference title. "We can only hope this will inspire some of these guys to play for us someday. They are our future."
Some of the Wildcats players were taken aback about the size of the crowd that the special day attracted. C.L. Little League players and coaches received free admission upon arriving in uniform.
"We both came up with this idea together," C.L. Little League vice president Karen Balich said. "There should always be good baseball in this town when the Little League and high school team support each other."
Before the game, the Little League teams were introduced over the public address speaker. After the game, the Little League players got to meet the Wildcats and run the bases.
Each Little League player who attended the game was automatically entered in a drawing. Prizes included four tickets to a RailCats home game, a $50 gift certificate to Dick's Sporting Goods, a $50 gift basket and four $25 gift cards from ZIG-E's Funland, and merchandise from St. John Sports.