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Local champs compete in Pitch, Hit & Run

Softball and baseball players age 7-14 participate in event at Marlins Park
MLB.com @JoeFrisaro

MIAMI -- Getting a taste of being in the big leagues became a reality to 24 youth players on Saturday morning at Marlins Park.

The home of the Miami Marlins was a host site for the Scotts MLB Pitch, Hit & Run competition for baseball and softball players 7-14 years of age. Similar events will take place in all 30 big league parks, with a select group eventually advancing to the national finals during the MLB All-Star Week in July at Nationals Park.

MIAMI -- Getting a taste of being in the big leagues became a reality to 24 youth players on Saturday morning at Marlins Park.

The home of the Miami Marlins was a host site for the Scotts MLB Pitch, Hit & Run competition for baseball and softball players 7-14 years of age. Similar events will take place in all 30 big league parks, with a select group eventually advancing to the national finals during the MLB All-Star Week in July at Nationals Park.

"It's a great experience," said Kabir Faiz, account manager at Scott's MLB Pitch, Hit & Run headquarters. "We told the kids before they came out here, just making it to this level is an accomplishment.

"They're amongst 720 from 650,000 that get here. We consider all of them champions just to get here to this point. So we really tell them to relish it, enjoy the experience. Enjoy the moment, have fun out there, regardless of how they perform. So it's a big deal and it's an amazing experience for them."

Each player takes part in throwing, hitting off a tee and running the bases from second base to home plate.

Participants came from as far west as Fort Myers, Fla., and north as Jupiter, Fla., along with baseball and softball players from South Florida.

"It's awesome, because you get to pitch, hit and run on a big league field," said Sullivan Smith, a 10-year-old from Jupiter.

PHR is a 22-year-old program, which features 650,000 kids competing every year. Those who reached Marlins Park on Saturday were local champions within their community.

"It's really cool," said Mackenzie Root, an 11-year-old and first-time participant from Fort Myers. "It's a great experience. Pitching on the big field was cool."

As part of their experience, the players and their families received tickets for the Marlins game against the Nationals.

Results:

Softball
Division 7-8: 1. Lexis Fisk (Hialeah, Fla.), 2. Yazmine Soto-Pabey (Ft. Myers, Fla.), 3. Makala Jackson (Delray Beach, Fla.).

Division 9-10: 1. Adriana Boucher (Boca Raton, Fla.), 2. Annabell Walsh (West Palm Beach, Fla.), 3. Ava Weinbaum (Ft. Myers, Fla.).

Division 11-12: 1. Mackenzie Root (Fort Myers, Fla.), 2. Valerie Torres (Miami, Fla.), 3. Celine Laplante (Delray Beach, Fla.).

Division 13-14: 1. Ella Pastore (West Palm Beach, Fla.), 2. Trinity Hood (Ft. Myers, Fla.), 3. Emily Vissaint (Delray Beach, Fla.).

Baseball
Division 7-8: 1. Kaeden Russell (Ft. Myers, Fla.), 2. Leo Wallander (West Palm Beach, Fla.), 3. Conner Buchanan (Jupiter, Fla.).

Division 9-10: 1. Thomas Pastore (West Palm Beach, Fla.), 2. Sullivan Smith (Jupiter, Fla.), Owen Hewitt (Jupiter, Fla.).

Division 11-12: 1. Joel Cabrera (Miami, Fla.), Jordan Peterman (Riviera Beach, Fla.), 3. Holt Flowers (Jupiter, Fla.).

Division 13-14: 1. Drake Flowers (Jupiter, Fla.), Brayden Slade (Coconut Creek, Fla.), 3. Jaiden Forgetta (Ft. Myers).

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.

Miami Marlins