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Coleman Hits With Only 1 Hand
 
By LOU PAVLOVICH, JR.
Editor/Collegiate Baseball
(From Feb. 24, 2012 Edition)
 
WENHAM, Mass. — Dillon Coleman of Gordon College is an amazing story. Born with no left hand, this 6-foot-2, 160 pounder has overcome great odds to play college baseball.
 
The journey has been difficult to say the least. He was cut from his junior high baseball and basketball teams.
Coleman had his left eye fractured when he was hit by a pitch as a youngster and also was hit in his right eye on another occasion when a ball ricocheted off his bat.
 
Through it all, his incredibly caring family has encouraged him to keep playing the sport he loves in baseball.
And while many of his friends stopped playing baseball after Little League, junior high and then high school, this junior at Gordon College keeps playing as a starter.
 
Last season, one of the most amazing things in college baseball history unfolded. The left side hitting Coleman, who plays leftfield and centerfield with no left hand, did the unthinkable.
 
With only his front hand to guide a regulation 32 inch, 29 ounce bat through the strike zone, Coleman belted the first three home runs of his life all over an 8-day span.
 
Last season when record low offensive numbers were turned in by college hitters across the board with the new BBCOR regulation bats, Colman put on a power display for the ages over those magical eight days — his only home runs of 2011.
 
Stop for a moment to realize how difficult it would be to hit a home run 300-plus feet with only the front hand essentially being utilized during the batting stroke and little help coming from the back arm. Also consider that this trio of home runs were the first circuit clouts ever hit by anyone from his family. His dad Jeff never hit a home run in his baseball career, and neither have his two younger brothers.
 
As a left side batter, Coleman utilizes his front right hand, but he doesn’t have a hand on his back left arm. As he steps to the plate, he chokes up on the bat about an inch with his right fingers on the bat. The end of his other arm is a small section of bone covered by flesh which rests against the bat next to his right hand. The athletic movements his body makes to gain torque and power through the hitting zone is incredible.
 
Coleman hit the first home run, a 2-run shot, five feet left of the right field foul pole about 35 feet over the fence on a line drive against Emerson College. He estimated the ball traveled 330 feet. Unfortunately, his family couldn’t be at the game to celebrate this unforgettable moment.
 
"When I called my dad after the game to give him the good news, he was extremely excited," said Coleman. "He said: ‘No, you didn’t…no you didn’t.’ He totally freaked out, and it was great."
 
Two days later, his family came to see a doubleheader against Curry College. And incredibly, Dillon belted the second home run in his life in the second contest.
 
"During that game, I hit the hardest ball I ever hit which was about 370 feet as the ball went over the right centerfield wall. I initially thought it was going to be a double as I ran hard to second base. Then I saw both the centerfielder and rightfielder go back as the ball went over the fence and into the pond. Since I’m not used to hitting home runs, I sprinted around the bases. It was just like my first home run. I ran hard around first base thinking double. And I couldn’t believe it went out. But then I saw the umpire waving his fingers to signify a home run, and I slowed down a bit."
 
Coleman said the reaction of his father to his second home run was priceless.
"Remember that my dad had never seen me hit a home run before. He couldn’t be there for my first one a couple of days earlier. So in the game against Curry College, he was sitting behind the backstop.
 
"When I hit the ball, he jumped out of his chair. When the ball went out, he starts running toward our dugout along the first base side and starts slapping fives to all the guys on our team and then begins running out toward right centerfield to retrieve the ball out of the water.
 
"My 13-year-old brother Lawton followed him out there. He took off his shoes and socks and waded into the lake to get the home run ball. He had to go about knee deep in the water to retrieve it.
 
"My mom Carol and other brother Hunter were also there at the game. It was such a great, great moment. My dad was actually running past the opposing pitcher warming up as I was running around the bases. And he said, ‘That boy can hit’ right to him. I will never forget it."
 
MORE ON DILLON COLEMAN: The complete, in-depth story is available in the Feb. 24, 2012 issue of Collegiate Baseball. We find out how Coleman can hit the ball so far despite only having one hand and how the mechanics of Barry Bonds helped him.

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