Athlete Of The Week: Russell Kish, Malibu Middle School

Russell Kish

As Hollywood celebrates the 25th anniversary of “Field of Dreams,” 12-year-old Russell Kish is quietly making the diamonds at Bluffs Park his own personal field of dreams. 

His true dream is to play in the majors for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Who says that won’t happen one day? Time will only tell, but Kish is off to a fabulous start. 

“I love baseball because it has a good vibe and you always have to be ready because the ball could always come to you,” said Kish, a seventh-grader at Malibu Middle School. “It’s a fun game and it is America’s pastime and everyone loves it.” 

Over the past three months, Kish has been a part of three teams, excelling on each one. 

In early June, Kish’s Malibu Little League team, the Reds, won the Majors division championship. He played an integral part in the title-clinching 7-1 victory over the Dodgers with a double at the plate, flawless fielding at shortstop and threw two innings of scoreless relief. To cap off a great day, Kish caught the final out to set off a wild championship celebration. 

A few weeks later, the diminutive sparkplug was a member of the Malibu 11-year-old All-Star team, which made a remarkable run only to fall short in the District 25 playoffs. During the tournament, Kish pitched 12 innings and allowed only two unearned runs while contributing four hits, including a home run and five RBIs at the plate. 

“Russell was amazing on the mound,” Coach Geoff Stern said. “He’s a phenomenal baseball player.” 

Next, Kish traveled with the Malibu Baseball Club to Cooperstown, New York, in July to play in the American Youth Baseball Hall of Fame Invitational Tournament. He didn’t disappoint, as he batted .631 (12 for 19) with five home runs, three doubles and 14 RBIs. 

One teammate even referred to Kish as “mini-Babe,” homage to the great Babe Ruth. 

“Russell’s overall performance was like nothing I’ve seen. His home runs were no-doubters and to see a kid his size hit balls further than kids my size is why you have to love baseball,” Coach Phil Johnson said. “The crazy thing is his defense at short was almost as impressive as his .631 batting average and five bombs.” 

Standing at 4’9” and weighing 80 pounds, Kish possesses tremendous power for his small stature. He has 12 career home runs. 

“I think it comes from my technique and giving it everything I can to hit the ball,” Kish said. 

Because of his special ability, Kish has played at the MLL Majors level for the past three seasons, soon to become four, a feat that rarely occurs in Malibu Little League. He also competes year-round with his club team, the Malibu Tide. 

Kish lists the Los Angeles Angels’ Mike Trout as his favorite professional baseball player. 

“He always plays hard and he’s an all-around good player,” Kish said. “And he really respects the game. He represents the game so well because he’s never cocky and he always tries his best.” 

Coincidentally, Kish has been compared to Trout because of similar attributes such as his unique talent and unselfish personality. 

“Russell Kish is the poster boy for MLL. He is the Mike Trout of our league,” MLL Coach Steve Prudholme said. “Russell is a phenomenal talent and even a better kid. He is a great teammate and will do whatever is needed for the team to be successful. His best attributes as a baseball player are that he is hard-working, dedicated and displays a true love for the game.”{ 

When told of the comparison, Kish humbly smiled and took it all in. 

“It’s a great honor for me because baseball is what I love and Mike Trout is one of the best players in baseball right now,” he said. “It feels really good when coaches comment on you like that. It means a lot to me.” 

Don’t let your dreams die, kid. They’ll take you far.