06/22/08 6:11 PM ET
Youngsters have fun at competition
Kids show off skills at pregame Pitch, Hit & Run effort
By Ronald Clark / MLB.com
The competition featured three parts, with kids competing in pitching, hitting and running activities. After calculating scores, the winners were announced prior to the game against the Tigers.
"It makes me feel proud and honored to win," said 8-year-old Ryan Baronowski of Rancho Penasquitos.
The groups were separated by ages 7-8, 9-10, 11-12 and 13-14. Baronowski, Matthew Ireland, Trenton Topliken and Jacob Woolsley won each age group, respectively.
"It was fun," said 10-year-old Ireland, who resides in Santee. "You had to do three different things to show off all your skills. So even if you weren't good at one but you were good at the others, you could still make it."
The kids had the entire field to themselves in the early morning prior to the game. They ran, threw and hit, enjoying every minute.
But they understood what was really happening -- they were playing baseball on a Major League field.
"I liked everything, especially playing in PETCO Park," said Baronowski
Each age group featured four competitors from around San Diego County, with two coming from Hawaii. The winner of each division is eligible for a national pool of the top competitors. The top three overall in each age group out of the pool of winners from each Major League stadium gets to go to the national competition held at Yankee Stadium.
Trenton didn't even know about the national competition but was excited to know that he was now eligible. Now, all that was left to do was sit back and take advantage of the free tickets him and the other competitors received for participating.
As for Sunday's game results, Trenton smiled and said, "2-1 Padres."
Ronald Clark is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.