Behind Todd’s stellar hitting, the Angels quickly became the best team in the league’s 11- and 12-year-old division. In fact, while most of the other teams in the league were struggling just to stay above the .500 mark, the Angels raced out to an 11-1 record and dominated the first half of the season.
Under the league rules, the team with the best record in the first half qualified to play the team with the best record in the second half of the season in a best 2 out of 3 series to decide the league champion. However, Todd knew that if he and his Angel teammates could continue their hot streak and also finish with the best record in the second half of the season, there would be no need for a play-off. The Angels would simply be declared the league champion, and thus earn a berth in an elite fall tournament held each year to determine the best 12-and- under team in the country.
Like his teammates, Todd longed to make it to the national tournament. He imagined himself standing at home plate, with everything on the line, and blasting the game-winning home run. He dreamed of rounding the bases, hearing the wild applause of the crowd, and seeing his delirious teammates gathered at home plate waiting to embrace him – just like he’d seen the “big-leaguers” do on T.V.
These were the images that inspired Todd and motivated him to work harder than all of his teammates, indeed harder than any other player in the league. Todd always was the first one on the field when practice began and the last one to leave the batting cage at night. He wanted to be doubly sure that if he ever got the chance, he would be ready to make his dreams come true. Todd Douglas was a “winner”, and in his mind, there was nothing that was going to keep him and the rest of the Angels from getting to and winning “the big one.”