{}
CLOSE

Now Commenting On:

Rays host Pitch, Hit & Run team championship round

|

ST. PETERSBURG -- Robbing home runs wasn't part of the Rays team championship round of Major League Baseball's Pitch, Hit & Run, but that wasn't going to stop the 7-to-14-year-olds gathered at Tropicana Field on Sunday from doing it.

Taking the field after the Rays' 5-0 loss to the Mariners, the participants warmed up for the Pitch, Hit & Run event, sponsored by Scotts, by long-tossing, doing high-knees and, of course, lobbing balls to each other to rob at the right-field fence -- because it's not every day that a kid gets to step onto Major League turf.

Connor Hallman, who won the 9-10-year-old boys division, only needed two words to describe how he felt on the field:

"Great. Amazing."

All 24 competitors were recognized with a short pregame ceremony along the first-base line, and the event itself was held after the game. The winners of each age and gender division will have a chance to advance to the national round of Pitch, Hit & Run if their scores are among the top three nationally in their division.

Bennett Mayfield, the representative from Pitch, Hit & Run headquarters who coordinated Sunday's event, said it was an impressive accomplishment just to make it to the team championship round. He talked about the program afterward.

"Well, it's a free program, No. 1, which is obviously encouraging -- but more importantly, it gives the kids an opportunity to advance," Mayfield said. "It is a competition. The winners from today have the chance now to go to the All-Star Game and compete in the national finals of Pitch, Hit & Run, shag Home Run Derby balls and basically be treated like an All-Star during MLB All-Star week."

During the competition Sunday, the young ballplayers had to pitch six baseballs at a 17-by-30-inch target 45 feet away (girls used softballs and pitched from 35 feet), run 160 feet around the bases -- from just past second, around third and to the plate -- and hit balls off a tee, which were judged for distance and accuracy.

The Pitch, Hit & Run event features 600,000 participants nationwide, competing in 4,100 local competitions. The 30 team championship rounds will conclude June 28.

The winners of each division were Morgen Talley (7-8 girls), Samantha Sherer (9-10 girls), Sarah Perez (11-12 girls), Kelsea Corbin (13-14 girls), Skyler Thomas (7-8 boys), Hallman (9-10 boys), Shomari Ford (11-12 boys) and Ayden Gallegos (13-14 boys).

Sherer made it to the national round of the competition two years ago in the 8-9-year-old girls division, and was impressive in all three phases of the competition on Sunday.

Hallman, who also won his team championship round last year as an 8-year-old, wasn't the only Hallman in the competition -- his brother, Cole, came in second in the 11-12-year-old boys division as a first-time participant. Cole had the best pitching round of any competitor, throwing five of his six pitches for strikes with a smooth, consistent delivery.

Connor threw one strike but made up for it in the hitting and running rounds -- and surprised himself in the process.

"I can't believe I made it with only one pitch hit," Connor said. "That's crazy."

Sunday's results were:

7-8-year-old girls division
1st -- Morgen Talley; 2nd -- Mallory Ness; 3rd -- Baylee Cameron

9-10-year-old girls division
1st -- Samantha Sherer; 2nd -- Brooke Mucerino; 3rd -- Jessica Wagner

11-12-year-old girls division
1st -- Sarah Perez; 2nd -- Samira Maali; 3rd -- Nyanna McCaskill

13-14-year-old girls division
1st -- Kelsea Corbin; 2nd -- Katie Wolfe; 3rd -- Sydney Mills

7-8-year-old boys division
1st -- Skyler Thomas; 2nd -- Austin Benoit; 3rd -- James King

9-10-year-old boys division
1st -- Connor Hallman; 2nd -- Patrick Fink; 3rd -- Keahi Louderback

11-12-year-old boys division
1st -- Shomari Ford; 2nd -- Cole Hallman; 3rd -- Isiah Cleveland

13-14-year-old boys division
1st -- Ayden Gallegos; 2nd -- Zack Treadway; 3rd -- Michael Vandertulip

David Adler is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

{}
{}
Boys and Girls Club of America

©2014 MLBAM, LP. All rights reserved.

The following are trademarks or service marks of Major League Baseball entities and may be used only with permission of Major League Baseball Properties, Inc. or the relevant Major League Baseball entity: Major League, Major League Baseball, MLB, the silhouetted batter logo, World Series, National League, American League, Division Series, League Championship Series, All-Star Game, and the names, nicknames, logos, uniform designs, color combinations, and slogans designating the Major League Baseball clubs and entities, and their respective mascots, events and exhibitions. Use of the Website signifies your agreement to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy (updated May 24, 2013).

View MLB.com in English | En Español