BARBOURSVILLE — Serf Guerra is easily spotted on a Little League field.
At 5-4 and 10-years-old Guerra towers over every other player at the West Virginia Little League 8-10 state tournament at Barboursville Park where his team, Jefferson County, has been one of the most dominant teams.
Guerra draws much attention for his height and size from players and parents alike.
He hears the snide comments like "Did he drive himself to the game?" or "There's the truck driver" or "Get the 13-year-old off the field." He's heard them all. Guerra even jokes that he's "Big Al's cousin," referencing the Little League player who last August took the Internet by storm with his video introduction proclaiming that he "likes to hit dingers."
"I just laugh at them," said Guerra said of the comments.
Guerra doesn't know how much he weighs but his size would frighten any catcher who had the misfortune of making a play at the plate with the 10-year-old barreling down the baseline.
Frightening is what Guerra brings to the field with his display of talent. At six, he hit his first home run, according to a Jefferson assistant Greg Sager. That same year he hit his first grand slam.
"It was over 200-feet," Sager said of the slam. Sager then explains its significance. At the time, Guerra played at the minor league level of Little League where the kids will pitch to a certain count and then a coach standing on the mound will take over in the same at bat to give the hitter a chance to put a ball in play.
"He hit it off the kid," Sager said of the grand slam.
That early display of power earned expectations, Sager said, and with expectations comes pressure to perform.
"Every time he comes to the plate, everyone wants him to hit a home run," said Sager, whose son is a teammate of Guerra's on the Jefferson team. "He's 10. That's the difference. He's like every other 10-year-old."
That is like any other 10-year-old whose fans hold up "Hit it here" signs in the outfield bleachers at the Barboursville Park Little League Field.
Guerra has yet to hit a home run at the state tournament, but has displayed his power for the two travel ball teams he plays for. A YouTube video shows him at a 9U home run derby where he smacked 13 home runs in 45 seconds.
It's not just power that Guerra brings to the field, however. He's a shortstop who, despite his size, shows good range in getting to ground balls and fires rockets across the infield to first base.
That arm also makes him a great pitcher at that level.
Guerra is a pitcher too, starting at times, pitching in relief in others as he did tossing three innings of relief for Jefferson in its 10-0 defeat of Bridgeport on Saturday.
"I like to pitch," Guerra said.
In that outing Guerra allowed one hit and struck out five to finish off Bridgeport.
He didn't pitch Friday against Milton but went 2-for-3 at the plate, scored three runs and drove in four runs in Jefferson's 20-4 win. When he's pitched for his travel ball teams, his fastball has been clocked as high as 65 mph, nearly as fast as average high school-age pitchers.
Guerra's father, Larry, tries to normalize the Little League experience for Guerra as much as he can. Guerra had the opportunity to play for Jefferson's major division team, but the elder Guerra chose to keep his son at a level where he would be among his friends.
"This is his time," Larry Guerra said. "I think (the 10-12 year-old team) won 7-0 today. So they don't need him."
USA Baseball has scouted Serf Guerra at its "Future's Series" events.
Despite that, Larry Guerra is still protective of his son. He limits Serf to throwing a two-seam fastball, a four-seam fastball and a change up. Larry Guerra will not permit his son to throw a curve ball, widely blamed for causing arm trouble in young pitchers.
Serf Guerra's future is bright under leadership of his father and coaches who monitor the boy who gets attention wherever he goes. They want to make sure he takes time to be a 10-year-old.