Cade Beloso remembers his first home run as if it happened yesterday.
His dad promised him a puppy if he hit one.
Beloso, around 6 years old at the time, blasted one.
"I got a black lab the next day," Beloso recalls. "I guess I was a little motivated."
Beloso, who just completed his senior season at John Curtis Christian School, has been belting homers ever since.
He hit 14 this season, powering the Patriots to their second consecutive Division I state championship.
For his stellar season, Beloso was voted the Louisiana Farm Bureau/LSWA Mr. Baseball. The award is voted upon by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association
Beloso, an LSU signee, batted .489 with 38 RBIs and had a 1.086 slugging percentage and a .616 on base percentage.
He struck out just seven times all season.
Mr. Baseball is the latest accolade for the player who was named Catholic League Most Valuable Player for a second straight year. He was also named Louisiana's Gatorade Player of the Year in May and was named to the Prep Baseball Report All-American team earlier this week.
He finished with 22 home runs in two seasons at Curtis after returning to Louisiana from Texas, where his family moved after Hurricane Katrina. And he put up lofty number in the classroom too, with a 3.85 grade-point average.
Patriots coach Jeff Curtis was impressed the first time he saw Beloso swing a bat in practice.
"You see guys that can swing the bat like him, but sometimes it doesn't transition over to the game," Curtis said. "But Cade is one of those guys who plays like he practices and practices like he plays. He's just really good at that. Nothing really bothers him, no matter the count or the situation. He's just a special player."
Beloso, who batted third in the Patriots' dynamic lineup, had his share of memorable homers in his high school career.
He remembers the first one he hit as varsity player while a freshman in Texas. There was the one he hit against Rummel as a junior. And the one he hit in the state championship game as a junior. And one he belted as a senior against Holy Cross.
"He just completely obliterated that one," Curtis said.
And that's exactly what Beloso aims to do each time he steps up to the plate.
"Just try to hit the ball really hard, simple as that," Beloso said when asked what's going on in his mind when he steps into the batter's box.
And usually, he just does that. At least when teams pitched to him. He was intentionally walked twice in the semifinals against Holy Cross, including one time when he led off the inning.
But many of his hits led to him trotting around the bases.
"That always feels good," Beloso said. "It's something that you put so much effort into, and the home run is something where you see it paying off."
He has had plenty of motivation, playing in memory of his grandfather Butch Beloso, who died in October after battling cancer.
"This season was for him," Beloso said. "Even though he was gone, I talked to him before every game, during every game and after every game. He'd be ecstatic right now. He'd be going crazy for sure."
While Beloso created his share of memories, he hopes he's left behind some as well. He is the first Mr. Baseball from the greater New Orleans area since Northlake Christian's Bryan Picou in 2010.
"I just want to be known as the guy who gave it his all for the name on the front of my jersey," Beloso said. "I want to be a guy that people will look back years from now and say 'man he was a really good teammate and a good person.' "
La. Farm Bureau Insurance/
LSWA Mr. Baseball winners
1996: Joe Lawrence, Barbe
1997: Chucky Son, Parkview Baptist
1998: Aaron Lowe, Parkway
1999: Nick Bourgeois, Barbe
2000: Austin Nagle, Barbe
2001: Austin Nagle, Barbe/Jonathan Zeringue, E.D. White
2002: Greg Smith, Alexandria
2003: Matt Greenwich, Parkview Baptist
2004: Ben Soignier, West Monroe
2005: Beau Jones, Destrehan
2006: Forrest Moore, Parkview Baptist
2007: Carmen Angelini, Barbe
2008: Zack Von Rosenberg, Zachary
2009: Zack Von Rosenberg, Zachary
2010: Bryan Picou, Northlake Christian
2011: Aaron Nola, Catholic-BR
2012: Gavin Cecchini, Barbe
2013: Jared Poché, Lutcher
2014: Chase Vallot, St. Thomas More
2015: Kale Breaux, Sulphur
2016: Nick Webre, Teurlings Catholic
2017: Jacob Pearson, West Monroe
2018: Cade Beloso, John Curtis