Forty kids advance to national finals of MLB's youth skills competitions

Major League Baseball today announced the 2018 finalists of its national youth skills competitions -- Scotts MLB Pitch, Hit & Run and the MLB Jr. Home Run Derby.

July 3rd, 2018

Major League Baseball today announced the 2018 finalists of its national youth skills competitions -- Scotts® MLB Pitch, Hit & Run and the MLB Jr. Home Run Derby. Forty children from around the United States and Canada, between the ages of seven and 14, have advanced from their respective regional championships to compete during MLB All-Star Week at Nationals Park, the site of the 2018 MLB All-Star Game Presented by Mastercard.

The third annual MLB Jr. Home Run Derby National Finals will be held at Nationals Park on Saturday, July 14th beginning at 8:30 a.m. (EDT), featuring 16 young sluggers who have advanced from more than 1,500 local competitions across the United States. The winners of the MLB Jr. Home Run Derby contest in both age divisions - 14u & 12u - will be recognized at the T-Mobile Home Run Derby at Nationals Park on Monday, July 16th. The championship is the culmination of a fun-focused home run hitting contest that provided thousands of kids, ages 14 and under, with an opportunity to advance to All-Star Week.

The Scotts® MLB Pitch, Hit & Run National Finals competition is scheduled for Monday, July 16th at 12:30 p.m. (EDT) at Nationals Park. The list of 24 Finalists includes the top three baseball and softball participants from four age divisions (7-8, 9-10, 11-12 and 13-14). In 2018, more than 625,000 youth from the U.S. and Canada participated in more than 4,500 competitions in either the baseball or softball sectors of each age division. Scotts® MLB Pitch, Hit & Run encourages youth players to develop their fundamental baseball & softball skills in these competitions, which begin at the local level and continue through sectional and team championships. Each of the 30 MLB ballparks hosted team championships from late May through early July. The Scotts Company LLC (Scotts), the Official Lawn Care Company of Major League Baseball and a generous supporter of the 'PLAY BALL' initiative, is in its sixth year sponsoring the competition.

Eric Hosmer of the San Diego Padres, Rhys Hoskins & J.P. Crawford of the Philadelphia Phillies, Jakob Junis of the Kansas City Royals and Matt Wisler of the Atlanta Braves are all Pitch, Hit & Run alumni. The finalists of both competitions will attend various All-Star Week activities, including GEICO All-Star FanFest at the Walter E. Convention Center (July 13th-17th), All-Star Sunday featuring the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game and All-Star Legends & Celebrity Softball Game (July 15th) and Gatorade All-Star Workout Day featuring the T-Mobile Home Run Derby (July 16th).

Below is a complete list of finalists for both programs, which were announced tonight LIVE on MLB Network's MLB Tonight:

MLB Jr. Home Run Derby National Finalists

14u Age Division

Jorge Febres, Mesa, AZ

Matthew Mebane, Hilton Head, SC

Owen Black, Murfreesboro, NC

Cade Climie, Sugar Land, TX

Armando Briseno,Fontana, CA

Sam Litwiller, Mackinaw, IL

Clark Younggreen, Mt. Vernon, IA

Connor Preisel, Sagamore Hills, OH

12u Age Division

Isaiah Santoyo,Goodyear, AZ

Joshua Agriesti, Hollywood, FL

Holden Cooper, Raleigh, NC

Josh Glaser, Flower Mound, TX

Ryan Prescott, Fullerton, CA

Edwin Rowe, Chicago, IL

Blake Stewart, St. Louis, MO

Esteban Garcia, Woodhaven, NY

Scotts® MLB Pitch, Hit & Run SOFTBALL Finalists

Ages 7 & 8

Kinsey Cave, Wallace, NC

Madison Shaw, Edgar, NE

Jordyn Jerotz, Encintas, CA

Ages 9 & 10

LilliOnna D'Introno, Conklin, NY

Mariah Harrison, Fort Mitchell, AL

Madelyn Parker, Tampa, FL

Ages 11 & 12

Mylia Perez, San Ramon, CA

Mya Bartlett, Las Vegas, NV

Amanda Hickey, North Royalton, OH

Ages 13 & 14

Macy Richardson, Tecumseh, NE

Abby Torgerson, Orchard Park, NY

Mackenzie Backman, Hurley, WI

Scotts® MLB Pitch, Hit & Run BASEBALL Finalists

Ages 7 & 8

Brysen Hall, Wadsworth, OH

Diego Ortiz, Whittier, CA

Brandon Wilson, Kansas City, KS

Ages 9 & 10

Kenneth Kerkhoff, Burlington, WI

Tate Meier, Washington, DC

Malakye Matsumoto, Los Angeles, CA

Ages 11 & 12

Joel Cabrera, Miami, FL

Gavin McIntyre, Princess Anne, MO

CameronSpaulding, Indianapolis, IN

Ages 13 & 14

Adam Minnard, Cortland, NY

Matthew Mebane, Hilton Head, SC

Callan Fang, Yardley, PA

Both competitions are part of the PLAY BALL initiative, which is baseball's collective effort to encourage young people and communities to engage in baseball- or softball-related activities, including formal leagues, special events and casual forms of play. PLAY BALL events have become MLB's signature youth engagement activity during the professional and amateur baseball and softball calendar, especially on key dates throughout MLB's Championship Season and through the Postseason & World Series. PLAY BALL events demonstrate the positive way the game can serve as an outlet for physical activity, fun with friends and learning how to play the sport at its most basic levels. PLAY BALL also serves as the League's youth umbrella in which all associated programs and events derive from the initiative's consistent, simple message: However You Play Ball, PLAY BALL! PlayBall.org is the PLAY BALL initiative's online home and is accessible via MLB.com, USABaseball.com, USASoftball.com and other partner websites. PlayBall.org also links to USABaseball.com, which provides players, parents and coaches with the information and resources to help with proper play and instruction. Health and safety information, including through the Pitch Smart program, also is available. In addition to flagship partnerships with USA Baseball and USA Softball, PLAY BALL is also supported by the U.S. Conference of Mayors, and MLB Corporate Partners Chevrolet, Scotts, Kingsford and Nathan's Famous.

The 89th Midsummer Classic will be televised nationally by FOX Sports; in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS; and worldwide by partners in more than 180 countries. FOX Deportes will provide Spanish language coverage in the United States, while ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network, MLB.com and SiriusXM also will provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information about MLB All-Star Week and to purchase tickets, please visit www.allstargame.com and follow @MLB and @AllStarGame on social media.