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Pitch, Hit & Run runs in family for Iowa's Farleys

Brock follows older brother Luke by winning Twins' event

MINNEAPOLIS -- Brock Farley and his family left their home in Denver, Iowa, at 3:30 a.m. Saturday to make it to Minneapolis in time to compete in the Twins team championship of Major League Baseball's Pitch, Hit & Run Presented by Scotts.

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Farley, an eighth grader on his varsity baseball team, pitched a two-hit shutout the night before, meaning he couldn't make the trip to Minnesota until the morning.

But if he was tired, it sure didn't show in his performance. Farley took first place in the 13-14 boys competition, and he hit a ball around 250 feet, the farthest of any participant. Last year, he made it to Target Field and finished third. He said that performance gave him a bit of motivation this year -- his last year of eligibility.

Farley was one of 24 competitors at Target Field early Saturday morning. All of them had competed at local and sectional events before heading to Minneapolis. The event drew participants from Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota and South Dakota.

Competitors threw six pitches at a target, hit three balls off a tee in right field and did a timed sprint around bases set up along the warning track.

Farley said his experience was similar to last year -- after all, he was performing the same tasks. But, there was one big difference.

Stormy weather in the morning forced the kids to pitch inside the Twins' batting cages and they were initially told that the hitting and running portions might have to be moved to a different field nearby as a tarp laid over the Target Field infield.

But frowns turned to smiles and the disappointment faded when the rain let up and event moved back outside.

"You'd like to hit on the field. It's a nice field," Farley said.

For the eight first-place winners -- girls Alyssa Richman (7-8), Claire Girkin (9-10), Mackenzie Boone (11-12), Amy Worm (13-14) and boys Jake DeDominces (7-8), Ethan Manock (9-10), Luke Morrisette (11-12) and Farley (13-14) -- the competition doesn't end Saturday. They will now wait until June 28 to see if they qualify for the Pitch, Hit & Run national finals during All-Star Week in Cincinnati. Their scores will be compared and ranked against competitors from around the country and the top three in each age group will advance.

If Farley makes it to the finals, he won't be the first in his family to do so. His older brother, Luke, was a national champion in 2009 in the 11-12 age group. Luke Farley also competed in the finals in 2011.

"[Luke's] been to a lot of big league parks and Brock's been with him," father Larry Farley said. "They've been in the dugouts. He wanted to do it because his brother did it."

The Farleys make the drive up to Target Field to catch a few Twins games each season, but Brock's more of a Dodgers fan, picking up the team after a family trip out to California. At the end of the day, though, that didn't stop Brock Farley from enjoying his time at Target Field.

"There ain't nothing like playing on a big league field," Larry Farley said. "It doesn't get any better than this."

Betsy Helfand is an associate reporter for
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