Pitch, Hit and Run contest set for Wednesday

Published 5:25 pm Friday, May 2, 2014

Beeland Park will serve as the battleground for boys and girls between the ages of 7 and 14 who want to test their skills on the diamond in the annual Pitch, Hit and Run competition Wednesday.

The competition is a time-honored tradition in the Camellia City that was first held 18 years ago, and it has changed very little in that time.

The program is designed to provide youth with an integrated competition that recognizes individual excellence in core baseball skills.

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The pitching contest will have participants throwing at a target from a predetermined distance, and the one with the highest number of hits on target will win.

The hitting leg of the competition is done from a tee and requires accuracy as much as distance.

Guidelines will be place straight through the pitcher’s mound and second base well into the outfield, and the goal is to hit the ball as close to the guides as possible, as there will be deductions for how many feet the ball lands either to the left or right of the goal.

The running is the most straightforward of all as competitors will be timed on a sprint from a leadoff position from second base to home plate.

Event coordinator Gregg Fuller said that the Greenville competition is only the beginning in the grand scheme of things.

“From here, they move on to the next level of the competition, which is in Dothan, on May 17,” Fuller said.

“We’ve had some success there, and we’ve had several children move on to the next level of the competition in our area, which is in Atlanta at Turner Field.”

The potential grand prize is a seat at an Atlanta Braves game, complete with a  chance to meet the players.

But taking the first-place prize in Dothan alone won’t suffice to make it to Turner Field.

Winners will be compared with others in four additional states—Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina.

“It ain’t easy,” Fuller added.

“For us to have had about four kids over the past 15 years make it that far is pretty incredible.”

As for Wednesday’s competition, some children participate to test the waters and see how they’ll do, and others hit the ground running with nothing but victory on their minds.

But regardless of who participates and why, the common factor is that it’s a fun experience for all, including the Greenville Parks and Recreation staff.

“I think we enjoy it more than the children do,” Fuller said.

“We look forward to it every year.”

Children can compete in four different age groups: 8 and under, 9-10, 11-12 and 13-14, and age is determined as of July 14.

Registration is scheduled for Wednesday at 4 p.m.

For more information, contact the Greenville Parks and Recreation Department at (334) 382-3031.