Born with a ball in his hand: Phillips leads the Sioux Falls Little League

Sioux Falls has 14 players that have been around for about a long 12 years, but one has been around baseball his entire life.

“I took a lot,” said Sioux Falls Little League pitcher Marcus Phillips. “He taught me since I was three, four years old, and it’s always been that way. He’s always been hard on me.”

Marcus Phillips is used to being in the spotlight. Ever since he was a young child, baseball has been coursing through his veins.

“My dad was actually done playing when I was born, but he was coaching in the Marlins organization, and whenever I was able to go to his games after every game, he would take me into the clubhouse, and I’d get to hang out with all the players, and then, he’d take me, my sister and my brother on the field, and we’d play a little wiffle ball,” said Phillips.

Whiffle balls quickly turned into baseball's thanks to his natural born gift.

“I mean everything is about sports in our family, and our kids athletic events, so to me it’s just been normal for him to be in sports,” said Marcus’s dad Steve Phillips.

“You know, he’s just a competitor,” said Sioux Falls Little League head coach Jeff Riley. “A high spirited guy, but off of the team, he’s relaxed. He’s got his arms around people. The reality is we have about three leaders, and with that, Marcus is one of them.

A leader that has sprouted in stature, this 13-year-old isn’t concerned about the spotlight that could be thrown his way.

“It’s not really pressure,” said Phillips. “The team takes off the pressure because you know the team behind you is gonna make the plays, so it’s not much pressure.”

“You know, I don’t know if he realizes what that pressure is,” said Steve Phillips. “He has mentioned to me before each of the two games that he’s pitched in about being nervous, but once the game starts, he just starts playing.”

Coach Riley says Phillips is expected to take the mound against Greenville.