By Christopher Tenpenny
Boys and girls from Harrisonville and the surrounding areas gathered at North Park Saturday to compete in the Pitch, Hit and Run skills challenge sponsored by Major League Baseball Network.
Boys and girls between the ages of 7 and 14 are eligible to compete. Brad Seiner, who is a Farmers Insurance Agent in Harrisonville, is running the event for the seventh time. Seiner said the competition allows the competitors to work on their abilities.
“Pitch, Hit and Run is a national competition through Major League Baseball,” Seiner said. “It’s their youth skills competition and it gives kids the opportunity to compete against each other and have a good time. It teaches them the basic skills of baseball.”
For the run challenge, athletes run from second to home as fast as they can. In the pitch challenge, each athlete has six pitches to hit a red target which replicates the strike zone. In the hit challenge, athletes hit the ball off a tee. The distance traveled in the air minus the distance away from the middle of the field is the athlete’s score.
“It’s a skills competition. This stuff is not easy,” Seiner said. “The running from second to home might be, but when you are pitching to a target, you have to hit the target. This isn’t how far you can throw it, this isn’t how fast you can throw it, it’s how accurate you can throw it and that’s a big difference.”
There are eight potential divisions, four for boys and four for girls. The divisions are decided by age starting at 7-8 and working up to 13-14. The players accumulate a score based on how they do in each event.
The winner in each division has their score sent in and compared to other regional competitions. The top three in the region will compete in the team championship sometime in July or August for a chance to compete in the World Series.
Due to the pandemic, the competition was cancelled last summer. With it coming back this year, Seiner said he thinks more than just the kids are happy to see it back.
“I think a lot of kids missed it last year. They like it. It gives them something to do,” Seiner said. “I think the parents like it, too. Some maybe like it more than the kids.”
The competition in Harrisonville had 35 participants and five divisions. The five winners are Layla Brittin (girls 9-10), Corey Mullin (boys 13-14), Bryson Hall (boys 7-9), Benjamin Mahurin (boys 11-12) and Logan Fugate (boys 9-10). Now they will have to wait to see if they did well enough to advance to the next round.