Lawrence James Gilliam of Phillips Temple C.M.E. Church is playing in the 2012 Babe Ruth Baseball 14-Year-Old World Series, in Murray, Utah, this week as a member of the Westchester Babe Ruth All Stars. The team advanced to the single elimination series after winning the Pacific Southwest Regional Champion title.
Gilliam, 14, is a team leader and is active in youth activities at church. Faith in God clearly is a factor in his success on the diamond.
"Whenever I feel weak, I go to God and say a silent prayer," said Gilliam. "When I'm faced with a tough situation, I just pray."
"Excited" about being in the series, he has played with this team for two years. Last year, they lost in the regional series, but Gilliam insists, "There's no reason we can't win this time, we have the talent and the athletic ability."
A Leimert Park resident, Gilliam has played baseball since he was nearly five. ╥One day, I came home from school and my dad handed me a ball and bat and we started playing," he recalled.
Now playing mostly first base, he considers himself a utility player. "I play wherever the coach needs me," he said.
Gilliam says teamwork has helped them advance this far. "We have the same goal," he said. "We work very hard to win."