Scotts MLB Pitch Hit & Run Post National Finalist Experience - Elijha Hammill

7/25/2016

I had just finished a tournament in Indianapolis with my team the Ontario Blue Jays South before boarding my flight. Once we landed in San Diego we were greeted by a couple of Scotts Pitch Hit & Run staff. We got a cab and drove to the hotel. San Diego was pretty nice. There was good weather and lots of palm trees. We got to the hotel, I couldn't believe it. We were right across the street from Petco Park. We went up to our room and I could see inside the stadium from my hotel window. We unpacked and met up with the other National Finalists for a banquet dinner. They played a video which introduced the finalists one at a time and showed pictures of the players. When that was done every player got introduced and got a baseball bag with good things inside, including hats, shirts, and batting gloves.

The next day was the day of the competition. Before the competition, we went to FanFest, which was this huge place that had baseball activities and cool baseball items. The first thing we did at FanFest was go to the hitting cage. Then we went to show off our defense, fielding ground balls before throwing it at a target. After that we went to an activity where you pick a runner to race against while stealing a base. After getting Rollie Fingers’ autograph, we had free time to do whatever we wanted to do at FanFest. Me my dad found this one presentation where Bryce Harper was talking about his Under Armour shoes and how people should follow their dreams. It was a great presentation overall.

After lunch the time had come for the competition. We all walked over to Petco Park together. After warming up we started the competition.

The first event was pitching. I had planned to get at least 5 out of 6 pitches but it did not happen that way. Then we moved on to hitting where my goal was to try to beat the record for my age group of 311 feet, and I came pretty close. I gave it everything I got. Next was the running. I knew that since I didn't get 5 out of 6 pitches like I originally planned, I knew I needed to make up for it in the hitting and running. I started off at second base and I gave it my all. When I reached home plate and heard my time I was very happy.

When the competition was over, PHR staff called out few names and sent everyone else out of the stadium. Since I was one of the names that was called I stayed and then was informed we were Pitch Hit and Run champions!!! My mission was accomplished and my hard work paid off because my goal was to be a champion. I was so happy. After we got the results, the winners quickly did an interview with MLB.com and then went back to the hotel to get ready for the home run derby.

Now I could relax and enjoy the rest of the trip because I had accomplished what I had set out to
do.

When we got back to the hotel we quickly got ready for the Home Run Derby. We met up with all the kids and staff members and entered the ball park. After eating dinner we went down to the bullpen and waited for our turn to shag flies hit by the pros. I was excited waiting to go out on the field. Our turn came and Giancarlo Stanton came to the plate. While I didn't catch any of his flies (most of them went out of the park) it was still lots of fun chasing down the balls.

Tuesday morning we went back to Fanfest. I did another interview with MLB.com, and then it was off to for the trophy presentation. Even though I knew I had won I still was thrilled to hear my name again.

We finally headed back to Petco Park a couple of hours before the All-Star game was to begin. The seats were awesome. We were in right field in the 100 level. It was great watching the All-Stars play, especially the four Blue Jays -- Aaron Sanchez, Josh Donaldson, Edwin Encarnacion and Michael Saunders.

The only thing that could have made it better was if I had caught one their balls.

I want to thank Scotts, Major League Baseball, and the entire PHR Staff for organizing such a great event. To go once was a thrill of a lifetime. To go twice was unbelievable!