It's that time of year when highlights of 12-year-olds smashing mammoth home runs start turning up on TV and on your social media feeds.
Such home runs were one very prominent reason York County's Cole Wagner earned some national recognition two summers ago, helping the Red Land Little League team to a U.S. championship.
The national respect continues, as the now 14-year-old Wagner was just named to the Perfect Game Select Baseball Festival, a nationally televised premier 14-and-under event coming Labor Day Weekend at JetBlue Park in Fort Meyers, Florida. It's specifically scheduled for Sept. 3 on Fox Sports Networks, according to Perfect Game's Facebook post.
"Perfect Game identifies who they consider the best 40 14U kids in the country," explained Kyle Wagner, Cole's uncle and one of the coaches on the the GoWags Lumberkings, a 15-and-under travel team that recently finished runner-up in Perfect Game's Summer Showdown at the LakePoint facilities in Emerson, Georgia.
"These kids will more than likely be ranked 1-50 in their (2021) graduating class. It's literally no politics, no money. Only invite only. So, yeah, it's a very big deal."
Wagner's Perfect Game profile lists him as 6-foot-0, 188 pounds. A lefty, Wagner will soon enter Red Land High School for his freshman year after previously attending Covenant Christian Academy in Susquehanna Township.
Listed as a pitcher, first baseman and outfielder, Cole is projected to join cousin Luke Wagner, Kyle's son, on the Patriots' baseball team. Luke will be a sophomore at Red Land and also plays for the 15-and-under GoWags Lumberkings.
The Festival's rosters are divided by East and West, so Wagner will suit up for the East. The vast majority of the East roster hails from Florida, with one other from Pennsylvania — Nick Bitsko from Doylestown.
Cole's father, Bret (also Kyle's twin brother), who helped coach the championship Red Land Little League team two summers ago, also noted that the showcase raises money for a local children's hospital (Golisano Children's Hospital) in southwest Florida, with each player getting his own link for people to donate on their behalf.
This will be the second year of the showcase event, which last year raised nearly $30,000 to help Golisano.
Wagner's Red Land Little League outfit was closely affiliated with the Four Diamonds and worked to raise significant money for that foundation as well.
Of Wagner, a recent scouting report through Perfect Game said this: "Nothing about the young Wagner suggests he is just entering high school, from his broad-shouldered frame to his fastball which he ran up to 86 mph multiple times. And perhaps even more impressive than his 83-86 mph fastball was his ability to pound his heater to either side of the plate, challenging hitters in with intent. And more often than not, he won the battle."