Taylor finishes second at Turner Field

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 25, 2004

Greenville’s Chip Taylor proved he could compete with the best youth baseball players in the southeast Saturday at Atlanta’s Turner Field.

The 8-year-old Fort Dale Academy third grader finished second in the Pepsi Pitch, Hit & Run Southeastern United States Regional Team Championship and was also recognized before the Braves’ home game against the Cleveland Indians.

Even though he didn’t claim top honors at the event, Chip’s spirits remained high.

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&uot;It was real fun,&uot; Chip said. &uot;It felt good to finish second. I think I did well and I feel good.&uot;

Chip’s father Keith Taylor is proud of his son’s performance.

&uot;He did real well in the pitching and the running, he just had a hard time with his hitting,&uot; Keith said. &uot;He might have got a little nervous and didn’t do well in the hitting. Overall, he did outstanding.&uot;

Taylor ran away with the fastest time in the running portion of the competition and hit four out of six targets to win the pitching event. He came up empty in the hitting event, which proved to cost him the championship. He finished with a combined score of 585, just 20 points less than the first place winner.

After Chip’s performance in the hitting event, Keith said he was unsure of how the outcome would be for his son.

&uot;I was a little surprised, but very happy,&uot; Keith said. &uot;It just proves we’ve got some outstanding talent in Greenville. The children in Greenville that were as close to him in the competition prove that.&uot;

One hit would have earned him 50 points and the Southeastern title.

&uot;I wish I could have came in first and hit better,&uot; Chip said. &uot;I think I did well and I feel good.&uot;

Besides having the opportunity to play in a Big League venue, Chip said his favorite part of the trip was being close to his Major League idol.

&uot;The best part was being 5-feet away from Chipper Jones,&uot; Chip said.

Keith believes Chip’s experience will be beneficial to him as he continues his sporting career.

&uot;He learned what it was like to perform under pressure,&uot; Keith said. &uot;He saw what it was like to be on a Major League field and have a bunch of people, he didn’t know from other states watching him. He came through.&uot;

As for Chip’s future in the Pepsi Pitch, Hit & Run competition, he said he’d continue to participate until he’s too old.

&uot;I’m going to do it every year until I’m 14, if I can,&uot; Chip said.