MILWAUKEE -- Miller Park became a field of dreams for 23 young baseball and softball players on Saturday. The young athletes, ages 7 to 14, took the field to participate in the Pitch, Hit & Run Team Championship competition.Pitch, Hit & Run, the Official Youth Skills Competition of Major League
MILWAUKEE -- Miller Park became a field of dreams for 23 young baseball and softball players on Saturday. The young athletes, ages 7 to 14, took the field to participate in the Pitch, Hit & Run Team Championship competition.
Pitch, Hit & Run, the Official Youth Skills Competition of Major League Baseball, invites kids to demonstrate their pitching, hitting and running abilities in baseball and softball. The competition coincides with the Play Ball initiative between Major League Baseball, USA Baseball and USA Softball, which encourages widespread participation in all forms of baseball/softball activities among all age groups, especially youth.
"It's definitely a huge, huge event. Just getting kids to be engaged out there in an event like this is a big deal," event coordinator Kabir Faiz said. "With 650,000 kids competing locally, the elite of the elite are the ones who make it to this level, but it's always a fun event just to have kids come out there and enjoy themselves."
The top 12 baseball and top 12 softball qualifiers from Wisconsin competed in three pitching, hitting and running challenges in hopes of reaching the National Finals, like Biloxi Shuckers outfielder Michael Reed did in the 2001 Pitch, Hit & Run National Finals in Seattle. Reed was drafted in the fifth round of the 2011 MLB Draft by the Milwaukee Brewers and made his Major League debut in September 2015.
"We have a lot of alumni in the big leagues right now, like Eric Hosmer of the Kansas City Royals," Faiz said. "Having those people to look up to and knowing that, 'Hey, I competed at this level, just like you did,' gives them a lot of hope and opportunity moving forward in their careers."
As longtime Brewers fans, Sheboygan residents Tanya Tenpas and her son, Bryce, who finished second in the 9- and 10-year-old age group, enjoyed getting a chance to be at Miller Park.
"We go to Spring Training every year, so this was really cool," Tenpas said. "I think it's very important to keep them active. Our family, we play baseball all the time. We play catch in the front yard. For them, I hope this program continues to grow in the future."
Winners of the competition were recognized on the field before the Brewers' game against the Dodgers. National Finalists receive an all-expenses paid trip to the 2017 All-Star Week in Miami, and will be announced on MLB Network on June 27.
*Carson Mason * is a reporter for MLB.com based in Milwaukee.