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Pitch, Hit & Run championship held at PNC Park

PITTSBURGH -- Morning rain along the Allegheny River didn't ruin the chance of a lifetime for 24 participants in Saturday's Pitch, Hit & Run team championship at PNC Park.

A total of 12 boys and 12 girls split into four different age groups in the Pittsburgh market competed in three events. The winners were recognized before the game between the Pirates and Braves.

The hitting event, in which the participants hit off a tee for distance and accuracy, was completed on the field. However, the pitching competition -- where participants pitched six balls at a strike-zone target -- took place in the batting cages, and the timed sprint event was held on the warning track.

Engleka, who represented Pitch, Hit & Run at several events across the country, said it's a thrill for him to see kids be involved in a program that has produced current Major Leaguers like Eric Hosmer and Chris Parmelee.

"The best part of Pitch, Hit & Run is the look on the kids' faces when they walk onto a Major League field -- the same place where their heroes and current players play and have played," Engleka said.

The eight winners could continue to compete in the Pitch, Hit & Run National Championship during All-Star Week on July 13. The event will take place before the Home Run Derby. Taken from the 30 MLB team championships, the top three scores of each age group will move on to the national competition.

In addition, the winners of the national competition will have the opportunity to shag fly balls during the Derby and attend the All-Star Game at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati.

The winners for the girls' group were Giavonna Minton, Cathryn Reynolds, Emilia Johnson and Delaney McHough. The winners in the boys' division were Alexander Knepp, Byron O'Neill, Cole Young and Ty Bender.

The national finalists will be announced on June 28 on MLB Network.

John McGonigal is an associate reporter for
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