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40 finalists for youth ASG contests announced

MLB.com

Forty boys and girls from around the U.S. between the ages of 7 and 14 will compete during All-Star Week at Marlins Park, as Major League Baseball announced on Monday the finalists of its national youth skills competitions: the Scotts MLB Pitch, Hit & Run contest, and the second annual Jr. Home Run Derby.

Both competitions are part of the Play Ball initiative, the sport's largest effort to encourage young people and communities to participate in baseball- or softball-related activities, including formal leagues, special events and casual forms of play. Finalists were announced on MLB Network and both competitions will be decided on the same playing field as the 88th All-Star Game presented by Mastercard.

Forty boys and girls from around the U.S. between the ages of 7 and 14 will compete during All-Star Week at Marlins Park, as Major League Baseball announced on Monday the finalists of its national youth skills competitions: the Scotts MLB Pitch, Hit & Run contest, and the second annual Jr. Home Run Derby.

Both competitions are part of the Play Ball initiative, the sport's largest effort to encourage young people and communities to participate in baseball- or softball-related activities, including formal leagues, special events and casual forms of play. Finalists were announced on MLB Network and both competitions will be decided on the same playing field as the 88th All-Star Game presented by Mastercard.

"Engaging youth continues to be central to everything we do at Major League Baseball," said Tony Reagins, senior vice president of Youth Programs at Major League Baseball. "Events like the Jr. Home Run Derby and Pitch, Hit & Run allow kids to enjoy the game in a manner that is casual and fun, while still retaining the competitive nature of our sport. We're thrilled to be hosting these events in the backdrop of All-Star Week events and giving kids the opportunity to PLAY BALL." 

Here are the 2017 Jr. Home Run Derby National Finalists:

12u Age Division
Luziano Casados, Albuquerque, N.M.
Braylen Lee, Oakland, Ky.
RJ Ruais, McKinney, Texas
Dakota Thomas, Lincoln, Neb.
Hunter Tyson, Ocilla, Ga.
Jakob Schulz, Mercer Island, Wash.
KJ Scobey, Lakeland, Fla.
Nazier Mule, Paterson, N.J.

14u Age Division
Brayan Doran, Indio, Calif.
Brandon Juarez, Evansville, Ind.
Cole Krawczyk, Phoenix
Ezra Mason, Bradenton, Fla.
Matthew Mebane, Hilton Head, S.C.
Jeremy Rader, Springfield, Mo.
Josh Redding, Lubbock, Texas
Joe Schulte, Cheswick, Pa.

Here are the 2017 Scotts MLB Pitch, Hit & Run National Softball Finalists:

Ages 7 & 8 Division
Samantha Barton, Reading, Mass.
Candice Puig, Whittier, Calif.
Jessica Tudor, Garrison, N.Y.

Ages 9 & 10 Division
Mya Bartlett, Las Vegas, Nev.
Zoe Montag, Algona, Iowa
Mylia Perez, San Ramon, Calif.

Ages 11 & 12 Division
Maysen Fisher, Dauphin, Pa.
Macy Richardson, Tecumseh, Neb.
Olivia Shaw, Flowery Branch, Ga.

Ages 13 & 14 Division
Brianna Mendez, Marina, Calif.
Julia Minichini, Fairfield, Conn.
Abbey Smith, Austin, Texas

Here are the 2017 Scotts MLB Pitch, Hit & Run National Baseball Finalists:

Ages 7 & 8 Division
Braeden Baldwin, Orinda, Calif.
Daylen Linton, Belle Haven, Va.
Lukas Waite, San Diego, Calif.

Ages 9 & 10 Division
Mateo Rickman, Torrance, Calif.
Sam Rosand, Washington, D.C.
Sullivan Smith, Jupiter, Fla.

Ages 11 & 12 Division
Jonathan Berus, Seattle, Wash.
Yonathan Hernandez, Roswell, N.M.
Devon MacDonald-Keeling, London, Ont., Canada

Ages 13 & 14 Division
Gage Gillott, Connellsville, Pa.
Joseph Henegar, Woodhaven, Mich.
Olin Snakenborg, Torrance, Calif.

The finalists of both competitions will attend various All-Star Week activities, including MLB All-Star FanFest at the Miami Beach Convention Center (July 7-11), All-Star Sunday featuring the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game and All-Star Legends & Celebrity Softball Game (July 9) and Gatorade All-Star Workout Day featuring the T-Mobile Home Run Derby (July 10).

The second annual Jr. Home Run Derby National Finals will be held at Marlins Park on July 8, beginning at 8:30 a.m. ET. The skills competition has provided thousands of kids, ages 14 and under, an opportunity to participate in a fun-focused home run hitting contest in more than 800 competitions across the U.S. The winners of the Jr. Home Run Derby contest will be recognized at the T-Mobile Home Run Derby at Marlins Park.

The Scotts MLB Pitch, Hit & Run National Finals competition is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. ET on July 10, prior to Gatorade All-Star Workout Day and the T-Mobile Home Run Derby. The list of 24 Finals competitors includes the top three baseball and softball participants from four age divisions (7-8, 9-10, 11-12 and 13-14). Beginning in March, more than 625,000 youth participated in more than 4,600 competitions in either the baseball or softball divisions throughout the U.S. and Canada.

Scotts MLB Pitch, Hit & Run encourages youth players to develop their skills by competing in pitching, hitting and running competitions, which begin at the local level and continuing through sectional and team championships. Team championships are hosted at each of the 30 MLB ballparks between the end of May and into late June. Eric Hosmer of the Royals, Matt Wisler of the Braves and six-year MLB veteran Chris Parmelee are all Pitch, Hit & Run alumni.

The 88th Midsummer Classic, at Marlins Park in Miami, will be televised nationally by FOX Sports; in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS; and worldwide by partners in more than 160 countries. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive national radio coverage, while MLB Network, MLB.com and SiriusXM will have comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information about MLB All-Star Week and to purchase tickets, please visit AllStarGame.com and follow @AllStarGame on social media.

Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com and a baseball writer since 1990. Follow him @Marathoner and read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com/blogs hub.