When Slade Heggen was eleven years old playing shortstop in little league he knew he wanted to one day play professional baseball. So to figure out how to get there he turned to his Dad for advice.
"Well he said if you want to play professional ball you're not going to be a shortstop because you're not going to be six three. He just flat out told me and I was a little disappointed but I said okay how do I make it? He said I should become a catcher and I caught the next game and have been ever since," said Mavs Catcher Slade Heggen.
"I just thought that in baseball catcher is a position often overlooked at the little league level and I thought it would be a good opportunity for him as a good athlete to get behind the dish and he was a natural he took to it right away," said Slade's Dad Jed Heggen.
Fast forward to the present and it seems like Dad gave Son some pretty good advice. Slade is a star catcher for the Missoula Mavs and is ranked in the top twenty nationally for catchers his age.
"Man I have never seen anything like it, he calls the game all by himself. I trust him a lot I know what pitches he's thinking, we have a pretty good connection together and I think we all just trust him more than anything. You know that whatever he calls he is going to block, throw everybody out and he can hit the ball too, he;s pretty unbelievable," said Mavs Pitcher Tres Cunningham.
But Slade didn't get to this position on just his talents, he's put in thousands of hours working on his craft.
"I can't say that I've ever had a player that works harder than Slade, on the field off the field everything that the kid does is one hundred percent. He's extremely focused, he's motivated and he's going to get out of their game whatever he wants, that's the type of individual he is," said Mavs Manager Brent Hathaway.
At 17 years old Slade's goal is the same as it was when he was eleven, make it to the pro's.
"It's something I think about every night before I go to bed is playing in Giants Stadium in from of thousands of fans but it's something everyone on this fields thinks about and to have that opportunity would be really really cool for me," said Heggen.
Slade has interest from dozens of Division 1 schools including Notre Dame and will likely choose where he will play in the next month or so, in Missoula Shaun Rainey ABC FOX Montana Sports.