We finished with fanfest and are now on the bus to Target Field.
This is it. This is why we are here – mostly. While we are here for the national competition, we are really here for the event. The kids will go with the guides and be with them the rest of the night. The parents are now on their own to film and watch. I am a little – not sad, but wistful perhaps, as I would love to follow Matt the whole way. This has been an experience we have shared up until now. I do however want to give MLB and the PH&R credit. They do a great job of including the parents and anticipating everyone’s needs.
Pitch and Run
Target field is beautiful. The day is overcast but it is very comfortable with surprisingly low humidity. Perfect for competition.
The kids warm up and then its pitching. The target here is a little different. It is a cut out. As Ryan pointed out this is probably better because it is clear. If the ball goes in it is a strike. If it does not, it’s not.
Most of the kids, many who hit five or 6 strikes in their team championship are hitting two or three here. For Matt’s group:
Andy – 4 strikes
Matt – 3 strikes
Casey – 0 strikes
The Blue Angels have flown over three times which is awesome. The hitting is the biggest part for the boys. For the girls, they don’t seem to have as much variance in power as the boys do. It is not uncommon to see a boy hit a ball 50 feet farther than another boy of the same age. That is pretty uncommon with the girls. With hitting, it is your distance times TWO. So you can gain up to 700 points hitting if you can really crush a baseball. The record is 365 feet. A 300 foot shot down the line will net you a cool 600 points. Pitching at 75 points per pitch can yield 450 points. Running, another 400 or so. So pitching and hitting strategically are your best options.
In this round Matt had a hit that was a flat low line drive. His second hit was much more to his wheel house, a good 260 – 270 but a decent way left of the line. His final hit – was 294 a few inches off the tape. It was by far the farthest hit of the day. This would prove to be key.
Matt at Pitch Hit and Run
Matt turned in a respectable 7.08 seconds. His chief competitor? 7.05. I did not get many pictures of Matt running because I had a lot of stuff to juggle. However in the end I got pictures of the kids. We just had to wait until the end of the derby to know who won.