HOUSTON -- A year ago, one of the qualifying Scotts Pitch, Hit & Run national finalists from Minute Maid Park became a national champion. Abbey Smith, a record-setting participant in the 13/14-year-old division, won her age group during competitions at All-Star Weekend on a national stage.A year later, as one
HOUSTON -- A year ago, one of the qualifying Scotts Pitch, Hit & Run national finalists from Minute Maid Park became a national champion. Abbey Smith, a record-setting participant in the 13/14-year-old division, won her age group during competitions at All-Star Weekend on a national stage.
A year later, as one of Major League Baseball's first Pitch, Hit & Run stops at all 30 ballparks, Sunday's Team Championship round at Minute Maid was the final trail for select Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi qualifiers hoping to advance for the all-expense-paid trip to compete in the National Pitch, Hit & Run Finals during 2018's All-Star Weekend from July 14-17 in Washington.
Participants compete in either the baseball division or softball division and have the opportunity to advance through four levels of competition, including Locals, Sectionals, Team Championships and the National Finals. The finals are a part of MLB All-Star Weekend, where qualifiers will compete against one another and shag balls in the outfield in the T-Mobile Home Run Derby on July 16.
Pitch, Hit & Run invites youths to practice and test their pitching, hitting and running abilities as part of MLB's growing Play Ball initiative.
When asked if she would like to become the second consecutive national championship product to come from Minute Maid Park, Sadie Peyton, from Austin, Texas, surely would've liked to continue the championship pipeline from Houston -- but at what cost?
"I mean, I want to win, but I don't want to be famous!" said Sadie, who finished second in the 9/10-year-old softball division. "I don't like getting a lot of money. Too much pressure!"
Carlos Thacher, the 7/8-year-old first-place baseball division winner at Minute Maid on Sunday, competed with a far different mind-set.
"I came here so I can get first place," said Carlos, who hails from Pearland, Texas.
The national finalists are expected to be announced in early July. Each first-place winner's scores will be compared against top finishers at the other Major League ballparks. The top three finishers from each age group will advance to All-Star Weekend.
The Astros also celebrated Play Ball Weekend by hosting a season-ending celebration for Community Leaders Little Leagues on Saturday, when approximately 500 children were registered to participate in baseball and softball activities at the Astros Youth Academy and enjoyed a visit from Astros reliever Brad Peacock.
1st -- Olivia Pantoja - Conroe, Texas
2nd -- Skylar Baucher - Austin, Texas
3rd -- Kaiyah Ferguson - Houston, Texas
1st -- Adelynn Siegel, Shiner, Texas
2nd -- Sadie Peyton, Austin, Texas
3rd -- Bailey Bolcerek, Brenham, Texas
1st -- Kailey Boedeker, Shiner, Texas
2nd -- Cheyenne Robertson, Houston, Texas
3rd -- Julie Hoeschle, Brenham, Texas
1st -- Riana De Luna, Houston, Texas
2nd -- Jayla Flores, Houston, Texas
3rd -- Mattie Konvicka, La Grange, Texas
1st -- Carlos Thachar, Pearland, Texas
2nd -- Zoe Baird - Buda, Texas
3rd -- Wyatt Griffith, Deville, La.
1st -- Matthew Manis III, Houston, Texas
2nd -- Colten harding, Huntsville, Texas
3rd -- Will Winchester, Hattiesburg, Miss.
1st -- Oliver Miles, El Campo, Texas
2nd -- Marek Fleming, Tomball, Texas
3rd -- Kenneth Madison, Pineville, La.
1st -- Jacob Mabie, Brenham, Texas
2nd -- Brett Hall, Leander, Texas
3rd -- Tate Thrasher, West Columbia, Texas
Christian Boutwell is a reporter for MLB.com based in Houston.