The Des Plaines Park District hosted a free Major League Baseball Pitch, Hit & Run Competition on April 27 from noon to 1:300pm at West Park, 651 South Wolf Road. The Pitch, Hit & Run challenge, presented by Scotts, provides children, ages 7-14, with an opportunity to compete in an event that recognizes individual excellence in core baseball/softball skills. Thirty-five boys and girls participated. The PITCH portion of the program tests how accurately a competitor can throw strikes to a "Strike Zone" target from a designated distance (35 feet for the girls' softball division and 45 feet for the boys' baseball division). Each competitor receives six attempts. The HIT portion of the program tests a competitor's ability to hit from a stationary batting tee, along a tape measure from home plate toward centerfield. Hits are measured for distance and accuracy. Each competitor is allowed three swings in their "at bat." The RUN portion of the program measures a competitor's speed in a sprint from second base, touching third base and home plate. Participants in the boys' baseball division run a total of 160 feet; those in the girls' softball division run a total of 120 feet.
Girls and boys were divided into four age groups: 7/8, 9/10, 11/12, and 13/14. Winners were recognized in each of the three individual categories, and overall age group champions were named based on their composite scores. In the Girls' Division, the Overall Champions were: Ages 7/8: Katelyn Dahl; Ages 9/10: Maggie Gaughan; Ages 11/12: Annie Gaughan; and Ages 13/14: Maren Garnett. Samantha Parcel will also advance as the running winner in the Girls' 13/14 age division.
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In the Boys' Division the Overall Champions were: Ages 7/8: Anthony Balow; Ages 9/10: Mike O'Conor; Ages 11/12: Ray Ure; and Ages 13/14: Adin Ocasio. In the Boys' 7/8 age division, Thomas Delany III will also advance as the Pitching Winner (tied with Aidan Barlow) and Perish Smith will advance as the Hitting Winner. In the Boys' 9/10-age division Anthony Jones will advance as the Running Winner and Jack Muno will advance as the Running Winner in the 13/14 age division.
All of these winners now advance to the Sectional Competition held on Saturday, May 10, beginning at 9:00am in Norridge Park, 4631 N. Overhill, Norridge, Illinois. Registration begins at 8:30am. Participants will again compete in all three elements of the competition with their scores starting at zero. At this level, the Sectional All-Around Champions become eligible to advance to the Team Championships, which are held during June in all 30 Major League Baseball markets. The culmination occurs at the National Finals, held at the 2014 All-Star Week.
The next free sporting event is the Hershey's Track and Field at Maine West High School, 1755 S. Wolf Road, from 1:00-4:00pm on May 4. Boys and girls ages nine to fourteen compete in separate age divisions (9/10; 11/12; and 13/14 years old) in the 50 meter, 100 meter, 200 meter, 400 meter, and 4x100 relay races; the standing long jump; and a softball throw. Participants can enter a total of three events: either two track and one field event or two field and one track event.
All participants must register by submitting a Hershey's entry form and a Des Plaines Park District waiver. To register, visit www.DPParks.org and fill out the registration forms under the Programs and Events/Athletics tab. Online registration deadline is Friday, May 2 at 5:00pm.
For more information about programs, classes, and events at the Des Plaines Park District, call 847-391-5700.