PITTSBURGH -- Rylee Kalocay's trip to San Diego last year was unforgettable. The Pittsburgh resident was on the field for the 2016 MLB Home Run Derby and met Marlins right fielder Giancarlo Stanton. She even had time to practice with the U.S. Olympic softball team.And to top it all off,
PITTSBURGH -- Rylee Kalocay's trip to San Diego last year was unforgettable. The Pittsburgh resident was on the field for the 2016 MLB Home Run Derby and met Marlins right fielder Giancarlo Stanton. She even had time to practice with the U.S. Olympic softball team.
And to top it all off, she was the national champion in the 7/8 Softball division in the Scotts MLB Pitch, Hit & Run competition.
"It was a neat experience. ... They took care of her," said Rylee's father, Mike. "When she won the whole thing, we were in total disbelief."
But Rylee wasn't totally satisfied. After she claimed the title, she had barely settled in her hotel room in San Diego when she told her parents:
"I want to do it again next year."
The 9-year-old is one step closer to reaching that goal, after winning the 9/10 Softball division crown in the Team Championships on Saturday at PNC Park. Kalocay will wait to see if she is one of the champions competing in the National Finals during MLB All-Star Week at Marlins Park in Miami. Qualifying winners will be announced on June 26 on MLB Network.
The Pitch Hit & Run competition's Team Championships take place at all 30 MLB ballparks. The competition grades competitors' ability to accurately locate the strike zone, hit from a tee, and run the bases. The Top 3 overall in their respective divisions earn the coveted trip to Miami.
Kalocay said she was nervous during the competition at PNC Park last year, but said looking at her father in the stands calmed her down. This year, she was less nervous.
Besides Kalocay, the other winners in the Softball division were Adalyn Hawk of Maysville, W. Va., (7/8), Brielle Marnich of Sewickley, Pa., (11/12) and Mickala Taylor of Marysville, Pa., (13/14).
In the Baseball division, Payton Metheny of Petersburg, Pa., (7/8), Luke Peterson, of Philipsburg, Pa., (9-10), Martin Marion of Belle Vernon, Pa., (11/12) and Gage Gillot of Connellsville, Pa. (13/14) were the winners.
The eight winners were recognized before the Pirates' game on Saturday against the Cubs.
Jonathan Toye is a reporter for MLB.com based in Pittsburgh.