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7/18/2018

Hello, my name is Cameron Spaulding the runner up of the 11/12 2018 Scotts MLB Pitch Hit and Run competition. I was so excited when we got to Washington, D.C! When we landed in Reagan International Airport we had to get our luggage and a Pitch Hit and Run represenative gave us our envelope to get to the hotel. When we got to the hotel they said our room was ready so we went to our room and unpacked our luggage. Next, We went to see the White House which was really cool, we got a sniper to wave at us!!! Then we went back to the hotel and checked in with Kelly Kelly. Later that night we had a welcome dinner and the food was really good and the stuff they gave us was really cool.


The second day was really fun because we went to FanFest, Playball Park, The Futures Game, and The Celebrity Softball Game! When we went to Fanfest we got to do all of the fun activities like hitting, fielding, and throwing. We got a VIP pass which gave us acces to the fast line. Next we got to play in a foam ball baseball game which was really fun. I hit a homerun and my friend Gavin hit a home run. Gavin acually ended up winning the 11/12 division. Then we all went to the Futures game and the Celebrity Softball game which was really fun to watch. Then that was it for the day.


The Third day was competition day and the Homerun Derby. First we got up early in the morning and went to FanFest and did some more activities then we all went back to the hotel to meet. We had to meet in the lobby to get ready to load the bus for the competition. When we got to the park we got off and went through the metal scanners. Then we said bye to our families and went down to field for the competition. We went in left field to get warmed up and loose. Once it was time for the competition to begin, we went to second base and did the pitching first. The annoucer called our name we would go to the pitchers mound and pitch. For my age group, Joel got 2 strikes, Gavin got 3, and I got 4, so I won the pitching part! Next we got to hit and Gavin won that by a little bit more than me, but we all had great hits. Finally, it was time to run. I had the fastest time by .07 seconds.

It was time for the results: Joel got 3rd, I placed 2nd,  and Gavin ended up in first. Then the last thing we did was shag balls for the homerun derby and that was really fun. Bryce Harper won the Home Run Derby and the entire place went wild! The entire experience was really exciting! I want to thank Scotts, MLB, the Nationals, the PHR Staff, and especially my parents and family for the experience and support. It was the time of my life!

7/10/2018

Hi, I am Cameron Spaulding a 12 year old baseball player from Indianapolis, Indiana. I play pitcher, catcher, and 3rd base for Team Indiana Baseball Club. This past spring, we were in the Maurader Tournament in Greenfield and I saw there was a Pitch Hit & Run competition and I wanted to try it. My Dad tried to get me to go eat between games with my Grandma, but I wanted to compete so my coach stayed behind so all of his players could try it out.

I found out I won the overall score at the local and got to go to Victory Field to compete for the sectional. When we got to Victory Field there were so many kids there that it took a long time for the competition. I found out a few days later that I had been the top score and got to go to Chicago and compete again with 2 other boys at the Team Championship at Guarunteed Rate Field.

Before the Team Championship, my dad found out the size of the target we have to hit, and he built me a target in our backyard to practice on. He also took me to a football field to hit off a tee because we have to hit the ball as straight as we can and there are lines on the field. We did this every day before we went to the White Sox Stadium. Once the Team Championship date arrived, I hit all the targets and ran really well. I thought my hitting was off, but I still got 1st place. I was super excited about being part of the opening ceremonies before the White Sox game, but was nervous about the cameras. 

I wasn't expecting a high enough score to get me to All-Star week at Nationals Park but I found out on Monday by watching MLB Live that I am one out of 3 going for my age group and division. I never thought I would win, but I did. I got excited because I get to compete again. I really don't know what to expect going into the finals so I am just going to come in ready to do my best and have fun. I eat, sleep, and breath baseball, so competing is one of my favorite things to do. I am also excited to watch all the MLB players compete because I want to be a MLB player when I am older. When we compete in Washington, I know I will do my best and, most of all, I will have fun. 

7/18/2018

I would like to start this off by saying there are no words to express the amount of fun and how many memories I have made during this experience. Over the past 7 years I have become friends with many of the girls that I have competed against. I would like to thank Scotts MLB Pitch Hit & Run and all of the MLB teams for sponsoring this event and those who took the time to sponsor this event each year.

Now for my final story of my PHR career. My mom, dad and I left for Minneapolis, MN Friday night so we could catch our early 5am flight Saturday morning on Delta Airlines. Good thing I like to get up early! When we were landing the flight attendant announced to the plane that I was one of twenty-four boys and girls that will be competing at Nationals and the whole plane started clapping for me. It was an amazing feeling to have so many people happy for me! After we got off the plane we jumped into a cab and headed to our hotel. Showing up at the hotel so early allowed us to go out and sight see for a while before we could check in. We first saw the Washington Monument and then headed to the West front of the Capitol. The time went by too fast and we went back to the hotel where some of other competitors were starting to show up. We unpacked our things and decided it would be fun to go practice hitting and pitching for a little while. We grabbed the tee my dad brought with and headed over to the area by the White House to practice. And no, were not inside the fence but that would have been pretty cool! We practiced for a while and went back to the room. It was now time for the Welcome Dinner where we would meet all the other PHR competitors. The event started with an introduction of the PHR staff, then a speaker from MLB, followed by one from the Nationals. We had a fantastic dinner and all of the PHR finalists were introduced with a short video of each one. This is where all of the competitors, including myself, were presented with our souvenirs and our uniforms to wear on competition day. By the end of the night I made two new friends, Abby Torgerson from NY and Kinsey Cave from NC. At the end of the competition they became more like sisters to me. I ended the night off by hitting the fitness room. Time for bed!

It is now Sunday and all of the PHR families had breakfast together before we ventured off to MLB FanFest. We all walked over as big group which allowed us to get to know some of the other PHR participants. Man there is a lot of traffic in DC. My favorite part of FanFest was getting my softball signed by Jenny Finch and talking with her for a bit. We walked back to the hotel to catch the bus to MLB All-Star Sunday. On our way there, we stopped at PLAYBALL Park and all of the PHR participants played a game against each other. Some of the US Women's Softball team even helped us out on the field. After a fun game we headed to watch the SirusXM All Star Futures Game followed by the All Star Celebrity and Legends Softball Game. Florida Georgia Line also played a few songs between games which I really enjoyed.

It was finally competition day. It started with breakfast and a walk to FanFest to take some group photos. Then walk back to the hotel. We caught the bus from the hotel to head to Nationals Park at 11:30. The last good lucks and pep talks we were given as we had to say bye to our parents to go down and compete. It was time to put my game face on! It was a competition, but I was also rooting for my new friends and everyone else to do well. It was truly an honor to just be there and competing against the best in the nation! We got to warm up on the field, and man it was hot outside that day. My family, along with everyone else's were up in the stands cheering for every one of us. It was kind of intimidating with all of the cameras around, but I sure do like to smile so that benefitted me. I got a short glimpse of how MLB players feel with cameras on them while they are playing a game. I was the last one to go in our age bracket, but I would've rather been first. I pitched 3 out of 6 strikes. Up next was the hit, and all I can say is that it wasn't my best day in this event. Up last was the run which was one of my favorite events. I had the fastest time which made me so excited. We cheered for the boys and then it was waiting time.

We met Harold Reynolds, a 2x All-Star and 3x Golden Glove winner along with Tony Reagins, he is the Executive Vice President of MLB Youth Development who presented the awards. The announcer got to our age bracket and I got excited with a touch of nerves to hear the results. The announcer says in 3rd place is Macy Richardson. In 2nd place, the announcer paused, my heart pounded faster and my palms a little sweaty, Mackenzie Backman! I ran up so excited, received my trophy and got my picture taken with Mr. Reynolds and Mr. Reagins. I ran down the third base line as they announced in 1st place, Abby Torgerson. I clapped and cheered for her! I was so happy for her as she ran towards me after getting her award with a big smile! I gave her a hug and told her good job.

We headed back to the hotel for a little while where me, Abby, and Kinsey hung out for a bit before we headed over to the T-Mobile Home Run Derby. We got to go out and be the ball shaggers while the pros pounded some home runs. I caught a ball hit by Freddie Freeman that I got to keep. We boarded our last bus ride back to the hotel around midnight and we still had to pack up our stuff when we got to the hotel. We had an early morning in front of us with having to be up and out the door by 4:30 in the morning to head to the airport. I was sure tired getting up after only 2 hours of sleep. We flew into Minneapolis, MN and 2018 Scotts MLB Pitch Hit & Run career was over, but I started another adventure just 30 minutes after getting off the plane in Minneapolis. My mom and I jumped on another plane headed to Spain for my Spanish class trip.

My advice to anyone thinking about participating in PHR, anything can happen with a little hard work and practice. Just look at me, I live in a small town in Northern Wisconsin and I ended up being one of the top 24 in the nation. To all the friends that I've made over the year, please keep in touch!

And lastly, I would like to tank Scotts, MLB, and the Milwaukee Brewers for this once in a lifetime experience. Thank you to my family for all of the support that they have given me during my PHR career. My biggest thank you goes out to my mom and dad for all the times they helped me practice and everything they have done for me to make this possible. Thank you all for the memories that will last a lifetime.

7/10/2018

Hello! My name is Mackenzie Backman and I am 14 years old from Hurley, Wisconsin. I will be representing the Milwaukee Brewers during the Scott's MLB Pitch Hit & Run National Finals for 2018. I have been competing in the PHR for 7 years. In those 7 years I have qualified for sectionals every year and this year was the second time qualifying for the Team Championship. This is my first time qualifying for the National Finals.

Our local Little League runs our local event, league president (Bart Innes) has run the event every year that I have participated. There was one year that was about 40 degrees. "Man was that a cold day!" This year was the hardest so far to find time to practice for this event because of weather issues (SNOW). I was a starter on the Hurley High School varsity softball team in left field. A late snow storm made getting our games in very difficult. Finding time to practice was usually at night in our barn, which has a batting cage in it that helped for hitting and throwing at targets.

Our sectional competition was held in Eau Claire which is 4 hours away. Last year I learned a big lesson, don't try to change your swing on the day of the sectional competition. I finished in third after going 6 for 6 throwing. This was my last year that I would be able to compete in the Pitch Hit & Run sectional, so I was trying to keep with what I've been practicing all these weeks. It must have worked because I won our sectional championship. Now we had to wait to see if I made the top three in my age division. The call finally came, and I was one of them and was moving on to the Team Championship at Miller Park. I qualified in 2015 for the Team Championship as well, I finished 3rd.

It was the morning of the Team Championship. We arrived early took out our tee and started hitting in the parking lot of Miller Park. Thinking to myself, not many kids get to do this! Then I threw some softballs to my dad, my mom backed up my dad just in case he missed it. I was ready to go. We went into Miller Park put on my Scotts Pitch Hit & Run t-shirt, laced up my spikes and I was set to compete. We started with the run, which is my strongest event. I love to run. The grass had a dew on it so when I came around third I slipped, I did not fall but the crowd gave a big gasp. My dad asked if I was ok when I walked by and I just said I've been hurt worse. I hit 5 out of 6 targets. I hit OK, but I can do better. We sat in the dugout and waited for the results. They called us onto the field, and I was excited to hear my name being #1!!

Now the waiting! Kelly Kelly told us that the top kids would be announced on MLB network. Everyone kept asking if I thought I would make it. My response was there are a lot of girls that compete in Pitch Hit & Run and it is just a honor to be #1 for 13-14 Softball for the Milwaukee Brewers! The day finally was here, we had the MLB network on, they started to announce the top three in each age division and then there it was: Mackenzie Backman, Hurley, WI Milwaukee Brewers! We were yelling and screaming. I told my mom and sister, "I'm going to the National Finals in DC during All-Star week!" Just then my dad got home from work and he was and the phone with Jason from MLB Pitch Hit & Run Headquarters. He told us congratulations and what was going to happen next. THE NATIONAL FINALS!!

I would like to thank Scotts, the Milwaukee Brewers, and MLB Pitch Hit & Run for giving me the opportunity to compete this year. Thank you to Kelly Kelly and Jason for all their help and information through this whole experience. I would also like to thank my hitting and pitching coach: my dad. Finally a big thank you to my mom and dad for giving me the opportunity to do this event for the past 7 years.

I live in Hurley Wisconsin, which is in the Northeast corner next to upper Michigan. Our area averages about 175 inches of snow per year. I go to the Hurley School District K-12, with an enrollment of about 555 students. I am on the honor roll. My favorite sports are softball, cross country and basketball. I am a member of the Penokee Range 4-H Livestock Club. I am raising a steer and a hog for this years fair. I will be running my first half marathon in 3 weeks to get in shape for cross country. In my spare time I love to snowmobile, ride the side by side and go kayaking. I enjoy spending time with my friends and family. After high school I am going to College in the medical field and play college softball.