SAN FRANCISCO -- It was difficult not to notice the cheering section that gathered in the stands of AT&T Park on Sunday morning while Devin Simonton ran from second base to home during the first event of the Scotts Major League Baseball Pitch, Hit & Run team championship.Many of Devin's
SAN FRANCISCO -- It was difficult not to notice the cheering section that gathered in the stands of AT&T Park on Sunday morning while Devin Simonton ran from second base to home during the first event of the Scotts Major League Baseball Pitch, Hit & Run team championship.
Many of Devin's teammates and their parents made the commute to San Francisco that morning and also brought along 10 enlarged printouts of Devin's face.
The fans definitely helped, according to Devin, who finished the day by winning the 7-8 baseball division.
"All [of our team] participated in the Pitch, Hit & Run, and as he qualified, it just got better and better and everybody wanted to come and support him," said Devin's father, Cy Simonton.
Devin was one of 24 individuals, ages 7-14, competing in the team championship at AT&T Park. The competition is made up of a timed sprint from second to home, distance hitting off a tee and a strike-throwing event -- a strength for Devin since he was the pitcher for his local team.
In addition, Devin had another advantage.
"It's in his blood," said Cy Simonton, who played professionally in the Mariners organization.
Devin, as well as the seven other division winners, will find out if they advanced to the National Finals, which will be held before the T-Mobile Home Run Derby on July 11 in San Diego. Every Major League Baseball organization has hosted team championships throughout the past month, with the top three winners in each age division nationwide getting to attend the 2016 All-Star Game at Petco Park in San Diego.
Lauren Mirtoni, who won the 11-12 softball division, is certainly hoping to attend the All-Star Game for a second consecutive year. Lauren won the 11-12 team championship at AT&T Park in 2015 and placed second in the finals.
But, because of tornado warnings in Cincinnati, the site of the 2015 All-Star Game, Lauren didn't get to hit.
"My strength is hitting and last year we couldn't," said Lauren.
Her experience paid off this year, though. Lauren excelled in every event Sunday, especially in pitching, throwing five of her six attempts for strikes.
"I think I did better this time than last time," Lauren said. "I practiced a lot. I go up to the park and throw to a target and hit off the tee. This past week I practiced every single day."
The other winners included Allison Khau (7-8 softball), Mylia Perez (9-10 softball), Cassidy Cheong (13-14 softball), Andrew Rodriguez (9-10 baseball), Mannon Valentine (11-12 baseball) and Jalen Jagdeo (13-14 baseball).
Justin Wise is a reporter for MLB.com based in the Bay Area.