Batters, pitchers and runners show individual talents

May 08, 2006|by ERIN CUNNINGHAM


They stood in line Sunday afternoon, clutching aluminum bats, before moving one by one up to the plate.

Once there, they swung the bat with everything they had, hoping for both accuracy and distance.

Hitting was one of three skills showcased at the Pepsi Major League Baseball Pitch, Hit & Run competition at American Little League in Hagerstown.

About 70 youths competed.

Jordan Nicewarner, 12, of Hagerstown, who tied for first place in the pitching competition, said batting was more difficult.

"They only count distance and accuracy," he said. "And it's hard to hit right down the center."

Orange cones were lined down the center of the outfield, and competitors were told to hit the ball as far as they could near the cones.


Timmy Hoover, 14, tied for first place with Jordan for pitching. Timmy said he also competed in the competition last year.

This was the second time the event has been in Hagerstown, said Susie Salvagni, events and programming specialist for the city.

The Pitch, Hit & Run competition is a national baseball skills event. Boys and girls ages 7 to 14 years old may compete. Sunday's winners will compete May 21 in Frederick at the sectional competition.

Winners there advance to team and national finals, which will be held in Pittsburgh, Pa., at the 2006 Major League Baseball All-Star Game.

Timmy said he placed second in pitching last year and was excited to have tied for first this year, securing a spot in the sectional event.

"It'd be exciting if we were there for the all-star game," he said.

Nic Martin, 14, of Hagerstown, was sitting on a bench watching others compete after pitching and hitting. He said he was looking forward to the running competition.

"Running will be my best," Nic said.

He won the running competition for 13- and 14-year-olds and was the overall champion for his age group.

Other overall champions were Tanner Canfield of Williamsport (7-8), Airin Martin of Hagerstown (9-10) and Kyle Shanholtz of Hagerstown (11-12).

Nic's brother, 11-year-old Zac Martin, tied for first place in the pitching competition. He had not learned his score yet in hitting.

"I thought I would do well," he said.

He and his brother were competing for the first time.

Tim Kitchen, 10, of Hagerstown, said last year he went to the sectional competition for pitching, but Sunday he did not perform his best.

He threw one strike out of six attempts and said he was unable to hit the ball out of the infield. The competitors used tees, which he hadn't used in six years.

"It was harder with the tee," Tim said.

He said he would be back for next year's event.

Edward Holland, 13, of Hagerstown, said he was hitting the ball better than he was pitching Sunday. But he was still having fun.

"I want to win, but it's good to have a good time," he said.

Dejaih Johnson, 10, of Hagerstown, was one of only a few girls competing in the event.

"I play as good as the boys around here," she said. "It's fun, and if you're good at a sport, it's even (more fun)."

The Winners are...

· Age 7-8

Overall: Tanner Canfield, Williamsport

Pitch: Tanner Canfield, Williamsport

Hit: Jordan Tapley and Katelyn Mehrling, both of Hagerstown

Run: Katelyn Mehrling, Hagerstown

· Age 9-10

Overall: Airin Martin, Hagerstown

Pitch: Airin Martin and Hunter "Buck" Maloy, both of Hagerstown

Hit: Daryl Knode, Hagerstown

Run: Bobby Brennan, Hagerstown

· Age 11-12

Overall: Kyle Shanholtz, Hagerstown

Pitch: Kyle Shanholtz, Zac Martin and Aaron Roby, all of Hagerstown

Hit : Anthony Morton, Hagerstown

Run: Logan Appel, Hagerstown

· Age 13-14

Overall: Nic Martin, Hagerstown

Pitch: Jordan Nicewarner and Tim Hoover, both of Hagerstown

Hit: A.J. McMellen, Boonsboro

Run: Nic Martin, Hagerstown

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