Devon Hedgepeth is rounding third on his high school career.
He can hear his grandfather telling him to hit the corner of the bag and dig for home.
"My whole life, he's been pushing me to do my best," said Hedgepeth, a senior at Rancocas Valley. "He knows baseball. He taught me the game."
This is a special time for Hedgepeth. He has led Rancocas Valley to an 18-4 record and to titles in the Burlco Liberty division and the Burlington County Tournament.
He has played his best in the biggest games. He pitched a four-hitter in a 7-1 victory over Cinnaminson in the county tournament championship game. He had three RBIs in the tournament semifinals against Florence.
He had two doubles in an 11-inning game against Moorestown. He pitched a gem in his only loss on the mound, a 2-1 setback against Holy Cross.
Hedgepeth also delivered the winning hit in the eighth inning of the Red Devils' 6-5 victory over North Brunswick on Monday in the first round of the Central Jersey Group 4 tournament.
"First walk-off hit of my career," Hedgepeth said.
The best thing about Hedgepeth's senior season is that he has made good on a promise to his grandfather, James Hedgepeth.
"His success all goes back to his home life," Rancocas Valley coach Dave Hower said. "He's a great player. His grandparents have raised him to be a great person. He's got his feet on the ground."
Devon Hedgepeth, who lives with his grandparents in Mount Holly, said his grandfather kept telling him that he had to make the most of his senior year.
"He kept saying it was my last year," Devon Hedgepeth said. "The whole offseason he was like, 'You have to do this, you have to do that.' I'm glad to see all that hard work is paying off."
Hedgepeth is most pleased with his team's success. He prefers to talk about the Red Devils' record rather than his own accomplishments.
"He's the first one to credit his teammates," said Hower, whose team will host Monroe in the sectional quarterfinals Friday. "He's such a great kid. He does everything for us except mow the grass, and he would do that if I asked him."
Hedgepeth is proud of one thing: He hit the first home run of his high school career this season.
But that's not his style. He's the Red Devils' leadoff man. He relies on speed, not power.
Hedgepeth is batting .477. He has hit five triples and stolen 20 bases in 21 attempts. He's 8-1 on the mound, with a 1.23 ERA.
"If he's not All-South Jersey, there ought to be an investigation," Hower said.
Hower compares Hedgepeth to former Pennsauken star Chris Berroa, who was an 11th-round draft pick of the Oakland A's in 2008. Hedgepeth would love to take a shot at professional baseball.
He plans to attend Gloucester County College as the starting point for a jump to a four-year program or the professional level.
First, he wants to finish his high school career with a flourish. He's rounding home. He's almost there.
He can hear his grandfather's voice.