Local youth shines in competition

June 21, 2005|By CHRIS CARTER

A commanding arm, solid swing and swift baserunning earned 8-year-old Airin Martin a first-place finish at the Pepsi Major League Baseball Pitch, Hit & Run Team Championship on Saturday at Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore.

By winning the title, Martin, currently playing for FOP in the West End Minor League, becomes eligible to advance to the national finals during All-Star Week in Detroit. Martin's point total will be compared to other competitors from around the nation in his age group (7-8), with the top four earning a spot in the finals at this year's MLB All-Star Game.

"We're supposed to get a certified letter in about two weeks once (Airin's) scores are tabulated and compared to other states," Martin's father, Bill, said. "If he's in the top four then he gets to go to Detroit."

Martin, in only his second year of organized baseball, excelled in the skill events designed to test three of the basic aspects of baseball ? pitching, hitting and running. The events are individually scored and converted to a total point score to determine a winner.

  • Pitch: Competitors attempt to throw strikes to a designated "Strike Zone" target.

  • Hit: Competitors hit a ball off a stationary tee for distance and accuracy.

  • Run: Competitors are timed running from second base to home plate.

    Martin, who has already fired a no-hitter in his young career, found particular delight with the pitching exercise.

"I've always liked pitching. It was definitely my favorite," he said. "I probably won the pitching, but I think I got lucky to win it all."

Luck may have helped, but it was talent that guided Martin through the local competition, which was held at American Little League's Brandenburg Field, and the sectionals at Harry Grove Stadium in Frederick, Md., for a spot in the Team Championship and a shot at participating in the national finals.

"The competition got so much tougher from American (Little League), to Frederick, then Baltimore," Bill Martin said. "I'm amazed at how far he's gone."

Pitch, Hit & Run is the official skills competition of Major League Baseball.

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