PHILADELPHIA -- Of more than 600,000 Scotts MLB Pitch, Hit & Run participants nationwide, 23 descended on Citizens Bank Park on Saturday morning to determine the Phillies' team champions and compete for a possible trip to San Diego for the MLB All-Star Game.The 23 competitors consisted of three baseball and
PHILADELPHIA -- Of more than 600,000 Scotts MLB Pitch, Hit & Run participants nationwide, 23 descended on Citizens Bank Park on Saturday morning to determine the Phillies' team champions and compete for a possible trip to San Diego for the MLB All-Star Game.
The 23 competitors consisted of three baseball and softball participants each in the 7/8, 9/10, 11/12 and 13/14 age divisions. Those lucky enough to play on the same field as the Phillies got there by beating our hundreds of others at eight Delaware Valley sectional competitions.
To move on to Petco Park for National Finals -- which will take place prior to the T-Mobile Home Run Derby on July 11 -- a player must finish in the top three in the age group nationwide. The winner of the baseball 13-14 division, Karim Mullen Jr., has high hopes of making it to San Diego, but just playing at Citizens Bank Park was exciting enough for him.
"It's very cool," Mullen said. "I've never experienced something like this before."
Softball isn't even Amelia Atkins' favorite sport. It takes second place to horseback riding for the Chester Springs, Pa., native. But that didn't stop her from showing off her skills and winning the 7-8 softball division.
Atkins, like every one of the eight first-place finishers, said Ryan Howard is her favorite player. The slugger's recent struggles haven't overshadowed his community involvement and role on the Phillies' division-winning ballclubs.
Mullen wears No. 6 because of Howard.
"I play first base, he plays first base," Mullen said. "He hits home runs, I hit home runs."
Scotts MLB Pitch, Hit & Run is part of Major League Baseball's Play Ball initiative, a partnership program with USA Baseball that encourages widespread participation in all forms of baseball activities among all age groups, especially youth. This marks the 20th year of the Pitch, Hit & Run competition.
List of the winners, by age group:
Baseball 7-8: Tyler Reinhart (Lebanon, Pa.)
Softball 7-8: Amelia Atkins (Chester Springs, Pa.)
Baseball 9-10: Bronson Kilmer (South Gibson, Pa.)
Softball 9-10: Meghan Fisher (Dauphin, Pa.)
Baseball 11-12: Callan Fang (Yardley, Pa.)
Softball 11-12: Abby Tobelman (Gap, Pa.)
Baseball 13-14: Karim Mullen Jr. (Philadelphia)
Softball 13-14: Zoey Gross (Mays Landing, N.J.)
Evan Webeck is a reporter for MLB.com based in Philadelphia.