S. LEBANON TWP., Pa. – A Lebanon County native is on the brink of becoming a World Series champion in his rookie season.
Derek Fisher is a reserve outfielder for the Houston Astros, whose biggest moment of his career so far came early Monday morning as he scored the winning run in Game 5 of the World Series, a wild 13-12 affair over the Los Angeles Dodgers that went to extra innings.
For Fisher, the dream of being a Major Leaguer began like it does for many kids around the world.
“Everybody wants to try to be able to play in the Major Leagues someday,” said Matt Knox, Fisher’s hitting instructor at Elite Baseball in Mount Joy, Lancaster County. “You’re in your backyard and you’re pretending that it’s Game 7 of the World Series, and your favorite two teams are playing, and he’s getting a chance to experience it now.”
Knox and his family went to Houston for Games 3 and 4 and hung out with Fisher while he was out there.
“He was different on the baseball field,” Knox said. “He had a different kind of ability and you knew that it was going to end up taking him places.”
That ability was on full display at the ballfield at Cedar Crest High School, where it’s safe to say the school and the entire Cornwall-Lebanon School District have Astros mania.
“I can think back to those years just to see how far he’s come,” said Chris Groff, a teacher at Cedar Crest Middle School who was Fisher’s baseball coach at the high school from 2008 to 2011. “It’s just so gratifying, satisfying, we’re just so proud of him. It’s just awesome to watch.”
Groff’s classroom has become a Cedar Crest Falcons baseball shrine over the years, with plenty of space dedicated to the alumnus that could become a world champion as early as Tuesday.
“From the beginning, he knew he wanted to get to this point,” Groff said. “Now, a lot of people want that, a lot of kids, that’s their dream. Derek had two good things going for him: hard work and a lot of talent.”