For the past three years both my boys have participated in the Pitch Hit and Run Competition hosted by our local little league. It’s one of those fun things that add a little more excitement to our picture day.
Ryan (Spider) three years ago made it to Chase Field for the team championships, but took third place. This year Ryan went out for the 13/14 Category. He posted some pretty gaudy numbers in the local competition which advanced him to the sectional competition.
At the Sectional Competition, he posted a score high enough to make it to the Team Championships. Many people think that winning the section automatically qualifies you for the Team Championships but it doesn’t. In some markets there may be as many as 20 sectionals! Only the three highest scoring winners advance.
The National Level Competition is similar. Out of the 30 Team Champions in each age group, only the 3 highest scores will advance to the National Level Competition. It is extremely unusual for kids with odd number ages to advance as the advantage usually goes to a year more experience and growth.
However, this year Ryan has been playing a lot of club baseball. And not just any baseball, but Chandler Ranger Baseball. The Rangers are a nationally ranked club baseball team (top 5 in the country) that has won 15 tournaments in both 13U Majors and 14U age brackets. They will be traveling to Florida at the end of July to participate in the USSSA Elite 32 World Series. All of that practice and competition had a measurable impact on Ryan’s development as a player.
And that came to fruition a few week ago when Ryan lofted a baseball off a tee far into the outfield at The Diamondbacks spring training facility. His hit not only caught the attention of the National PH&R director, coupled with his pitching and base running speed, his hit gave him enough points to earn a spot in the national competition.
Starting tomorrow, Ryan and his fellow competitors will journey to a brunch hosted by Major League Baseball then they will travel to Chase Field to continue their All Star Journey. You know how some competitions have 100 first prize winners? The way they are handling this event makes it feel like there are 24 first prize winners. So regardless of what happens they’ve made everyone feel very special.
For my part, I will try to capture as much as I can to preserve and share.