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Mariners host Pitch, Hit & Run finalists at Safeco Field

SEATTLE -- Kendrys Morales' three-run walk-off homer on Sunday evening may have given the Mariners a 6-3 win over the A's, but the baseball excitement at Safeco Field was just beginning.

After most of the players headed to the locker room and the fans cleared out, 12 boys and 12 girls from around the region took the field to compete in the Seattle Team Championship Round of the Pitch, Hit and Run competition presented by Scotts.

With family and friends watching from the stands behind the Seattle dugout, the youngsters ranging in age from 7-14 competed by racing from second base to home, by hitting a ball off a tee for distance, and by trying to hit a strike zone with six pitches. The contestants were separated into groups by gender and age.

"Watching them step on the field with these heroes they look up to is a great experience for me," event organizer Abby Lane said. "Watching the joy on their face; you see them get a little nervous but once they're out there for a little bit, they're just having a good time. As well as the parents, you see how excited the parents are to see their kids on the field."

Each Major League team will host a championship round, with the top three scorers nationally in each age group taking an all-expenses-paid trip to New York to compete in the final round as part of the All-Star Game festivities.

To make it to Safeco, the contestants had to win local and regional rounds in their communities. Over 600,000 young ballplayers competed across the country.

The day's winners were Taylor Millar from Marysville, Wash., (girls 7-8 division), Taylor Franklin from Sammamish, Wash., (boys 7-8), Adrianna Frank from North Bend, Ore., (girls 9-10), Emeka Egbuka from Dupont, Wash., (boys 9-10), Hayley Loffer from Hayden, Idaho, (girls 11-12), Carter Friesz from Hayden, Idaho, (boys 11-12), Coya Nack from Geraldine, Mont., (girls 13-14), and Clayton Keyes from Calgary, Alberta, (boys 13-14).

Jacob Thorpe is an associate reporter for
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