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Local youths compete in Pitch, Hit & Run

ATLANTA -- Olivia Shaw is no stranger to athletic competitions, and after making an appearance at an Atlanta Falcons game with the NFL's Punt Pass & Kick, she can claim to be a first-place winner with Major League Baseball's Pitch, Hit & Run Presented by Scotts.

Shaw was clocked at 8.63 seconds from second base to home plate and hit five of her six pitches for strikes at Turner Field Saturday morning, winning the girls' 9-10 age division.

"[It was] awesome," Shaw said after. "I've never made it this far."

After Shaw admitted she was a little nervous, her father John chimed in.

"No sweat right? No sweat," he said smiling. "We've been working on it, we've been practicing hard for it. She's competitive. This is her third or fourth time."

The winner of the boys' 13-14 age division was competing in the event for his first time, but Noah Welkis has been preparing since he was eight years old.

"It felt really cool," Welkis said after being presented with his first-place plaque. "This is my first year, so it was a new experience. I've been working for it since I was eight, so it was really big for me."

Welkis spent a few days leading up to the event icing his ankle after rolling it during practice, but still managed to claim first place with the injury and new environment.

"I felt a little bit of pressure because it's my first year, but overall it was pretty easy," Welkis said. "I didn't do as well as I thought I was going to, but it's alright."

Like his fellow competitors, 7-8 age division winner Austen Davis took a humble approach when asked about his victory.

"I came here, my dad told me it's just fun, so I just took that in and I just got lucky," Davis said.

Davis was the fastest runner from second base to home in his division, clocking in at 9.05 in his first year with the event.

"I was a little nervous, but once I got there, I got a few friends and started talking," Davis said.

Davis said he plays all over the field for his teams, but likes pitching the most, and his favorite players on the Braves are Freddie Freeman, Jace Peterson and Jason Grilli.

There were 23 competitors across eight different divisions at Turner Field Saturday. These were the first-place finishers: Maliyah Woods (7-8 girls), Olivia Shaw (9-10 girls), Mary Leigh Cook (11-12 girls), Madison Hayes (13-14 girls), Austen Davis (7-8 boys), Miles Snell (9-10 boys), William Akins (11-12 boys) and Noah Welkis (13-14 boys).

On July 28, the winners will find out whether their scores are high enough to be included in the national competition in Cincinnati.

Carlos Collazo is an associate reporter for
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