ST. LOUIS -- Early Saturday morning, hours before the Cardinals faced the Phillies, a group of softball and baseball players ranging from ages 7-14 showed off their skills at Busch Stadium. The athletes are among the best from their region, and it showed in the day's competition.Pitch, Hit & Run,
ST. LOUIS -- Early Saturday morning, hours before the Cardinals faced the Phillies, a group of softball and baseball players ranging from ages 7-14 showed off their skills at Busch Stadium. The athletes are among the best from their region, and it showed in the day's 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.
Participants hailed from Missouri, Illinois and Tennessee and reached this point in the competition by winning at their local level, which can be hosted by organizations, leagues, or volunteers within a community, and their sectional competition. For most, getting a chance to play and run on a Major League field made the whole experience even better. Addison Williams, from Iberia, Mo., who plays pitcher and shortstop, won the 9/10 softball division after a lot of excitement and just a little bit of nerves.
"It was very exciting," Williams said of playing at Busch Stadium. "I never thought I would be able to do that."
For some, the day was a family occasion with siblings taking part in the competition. Woodrow and Carly Foster from Fulton, Mo., participated with Woodrow finishing in first place in the 13/14 baseball division and Carly in second in the 11/12 softball division. Woodrow, 13, has been playing baseball since he was 4 years old and won his age group for his fourth consecutive time participating in the event.
"My first time ever doing it I was really nervous, now I'm kind of used to it. It's fun being out there," Woodrow Fulton said. "A lot of people don't get that chance, so it's good to enjoy it while you're out there."
Each player got a chance to hit balls as far as they could, test how fast they could run from second base to home and pitch multiple balls into a strike zone. All of the scores from the events were then added to determine the winners.
Rylee Cureton from Marble Hill, Mo., winner of the 11/12 softball division, is a catcher who also plays basketball and volleyball. For her, getting a chance to play her favorite sport, which she has played since she was 4 years old, at this level was pretty cool.
"Both excited and nervous," Cureton said about the event, adding that she was unsure if she had won or not before hearing her name.
Other winners included Kayleygh Niles (7-8 softball), Carly Guinn (13/14 softball), Jace Kirchner (7/8 baseball), Brody Kleffner (9/10 baseball) and Alex Siatos (11/12 baseball). All of the winners were honored on the field prior to Saturday's game.
On June 26, the top competitors in each age group will be announced, and they will go on to compete in the Scotts MLB Pitch, Hit & Run finals at Marlins Park in Miami during MLB All-Star Week.
For more information and to get involved in 2018, visit PitchHitRun.com
Alaina Getzenberg is a reporter for MLB.com based in St. Louis.