MILWAUKEE -- You don't have an understanding of what it's like to stand on a Major League field until you actually do it, at least that's what 8-year-old Olivia Wilson said at Saturday morning's Scotts MLB Pitch, Hit & Run competition at Miller Park."This is my first time here," said
MILWAUKEE -- You don't have an understanding of what it's like to stand on a Major League field until you actually do it, at least that's what 8-year-old Olivia Wilson said at Saturday morning's Scotts MLB Pitch, Hit & Run competition at Miller Park.
"This is my first time here," said Wilson, who has three years of experience playing softball. "Getting to walk on the field and getting to see that it's such a big field. And there are a lot of chairs."
Wilson and 23 other girls and boys divided into four age groups competed at the Pitch, Hit & Run program, the "Official Youth Skills Competition of Major League Baseball." The program has a baseball and softball division and is open to boys and girls ages 7-14. The program is free for all hosts and participants.
Participants advance through four levels of competition, beginning at the local level and continuing through sectional and team competitions. All 30 Major League clubs will host Team Championships at their ballparks on weekends from May 26-July 1.
The top competitors nationwide from each age group (7-8, 9-10, 11-12 and 13-14) will advance to the Scotts MLB Pitch, Hit & Run National Finals during MLB All-Star Week.
Marc Jones' goal is to head to Washington D.C. for this year's All-Star Game. Jones, who won the Brewers' team championship for the third straight year on Saturday, is in his final year to qualify, aging out of the program after 2018.
Jones finished 17th nationally for his age group last year, he only the top three competitors from each division advance to All-Star Week. But even if he doesn't qualify, being on the Miller Park field is what is special to Jones.
"It's surreal," Jones said. "It never gets old. Hopefully this is my year."
The competition includes a timed run from second base to home plate, six pitches at a strike zone on a backstop and three swings off a tee with the furthest hit's distance measured and recorded.
In its 22nd year, Pitch, Hit & Run is part of the Play Ball initiative between Major League Baseball and USA Baseball, which encourages widespread participation in all forms of baseball activities among all age groups, especially youth. The program highlights the many ways baseball can be enjoyed and played.
Alex Hoyum also had a good time and took home some hardware, winning the boys' 11-12 division.
"It was fun seeing everybody do what they do," Hoyum said. "It was just overall awesome getting to run on the field, and it was pretty fun."
For more information on Scotts MLB Pitch, Hit & Run, visit www.pitchhitrun.com. Scotts, the "Official Lawn Care Company of Major League Baseball" is in its 6th year sponsoring the Pitch, Hit & Run grassroots program.
Stephen Cohn is a reporter for MLB.com based in Milwaukee. Follow him on Twitter @Stephen__Cohn.