Ozone Howard Little Leaguer is a giant among his peers

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Chris Kollmer is colossal.

Kollmer is so tall and powerful for his age that Ozone Howard Little League Huskies eight and under manager Andy Menechella often carries the young player’s birth certificate to prove to opposing teams’ parents the nine-year-old is not a teenager.

Standing at 5’1”, about 120 pounds and wearing size nine shoe, Kollmer is a giant among his peers. And it’s not just his size that makes him frightening. Kollmer is a monster at the plate.

“In a situation where the game is tight, you don’t want anybody else but him at the plate,” Menechella said. “He’s hit homeruns over the fence that I haven’t seen 13 year olds hit.”

In 40 games he has 54 hits with a remarkable .574, 10 homeruns and 67 RBIs. It’s no doubt Kollmer is a major factor why the Huskies have gone 40-9 this summer, and won two tournaments after making four finals.

Teams are so scared of Kollmer that they’ve begun to intentionally walk him to first base to avoid giving up a homer. This tactic is frequently used against big name sluggers in the Major League, but it just frustrates Kollmer.

“If they intentionally walk me I get mad, because I really want to hit the ball,” Kollmer said.

Kollmer isn’t just a baseball player. He is a versatile athlete that plays basketball and football when he’s not on the diamond, and even in those sports his size is recognized. In basketball he plays center, usually reserved for the tallest player, and in football, he plays fullback, which is known for the big-bodied defensive guys.

But Kollmer wasn’t always good at baseball. His physical growth certainly helped boost is athletic ability, and his parents said help from a new coach also spurted his little league baseball domination.

Elvin Millan, a catcher for the Newark Bears of the Canadian American Association of Professional Baseball, has been working with Kollmer to help improve his swing and give him tips on how to play the first base and catcher positions. When Millan first met Kollmer he knew the little leaguer had the natural ability to be great, but needed to refine his technique.

“He had the talent,” Millan said. “He was like a newborn giraffe.”

The talent isn’t just random. Kollmer comes from a sports-oriented family. His father, Darren, played lacrosse growing up, his brother is a college baseball player and his cousins all play football and baseball.

“I think it’s just genetics,” Darren said.

But besides his attributes on the field, Kollmer is a normal kid. He likes playing video games, watching cartoons, eating spaghetti and meatballs and studying mathematics. His favorite baseball team is the Yankees; he admires the captain, Derek Jeter, and of course he dreams of playing baseball professionally in the distant future.

For now though, Kollmer has his eyes set on a much closer reality. Within the next couple of years he wants to lead his team to the Little League World Series.

“My team can definitely get there, we are an excellent team,” Kollmer said.