GARY | When he was 12, Aaron Hall played on a Little League team in Gary that didn't have the most successful baseball season.
After the last loss, Hall stayed home, ignoring the praise he received about his skill as an athlete. He didn't think he was good enough to give an All-Star team a tryout.
That's when coach Greg Campbell, who was in charge of the 12-year-old All-Star team, came knocking on his door.
"I asked him, 'Was he going out for All-Stars,' and he replied to me that he didn't think he was good enough. That's when I said, 'That's why there's coaches like me that become coaches,'" Campbell said. "He come right on out and he made that team easily and he was batting seventh, I want to say he hit over .400, and he had more home runs than any other player batting seventh."
Three years ago, Hall and Campbell were reunited on the baseball diamond at West Side when Campbell was hired to coach the varsity team.
Hall, a versatile player who has had his mitt in every position over the last three years, hasn't disappointed, yet.
Hitting No. 2 in the batting order, Hall is also second on his team in batting average, just behind leadoff hitter Todd Porter.
Hall is the full-time third baseman, except when he's needed on the mound, behind the plate, or at his favorite position: the outfield.
He's compiled a 2-0 record as a pitcher in the Cougars' young season -- the team has played just three games -- the latest win coming in seven innings of relief in a nine-inning RailCats High School Challenge game at U.S. Steel Yard.
"When I was younger, my team wasn't that good, so they started playing me everywhere," Hall said. "I started in the outfield, then as I got better, they pulled me into the infield and I was pitching and catching."
Despite his athleticism, Hall has remained a one-sport athlete at West Side, where baseball is not the school's most popular activity. He tried his hand at basketball as a freshman at Roosevelt, but when he transferred schools, he left the inside sports behind.
"If I took baseball out, I don't know what I'd do," Hall said."
Campbell said that Hall's maturation on the mound has helped turn the senior into a more complete pitcher.
"He understands that pitching is keeping the hitters off balance, not so much trying to blow it past them," Campbell said. "When he takes the mound, you can see it in the teammates' faces that 'this work is going to be easy.'"
Translating all of that into a college education so that baseball doesn't have to stop is Hall's next goal.
"I'll play summer baseball this summer, but I don't want it to just let it go away then," Hall said.