EATON — All of our local and sectional MLB Pitch Hit and Run competitors who advanced to the Team Championship level competed this past Saturday in Cincinnati.
The Team Championship round takes place at all the Major League baseball parks across the nation, where only the top three athletes in each age division compete for a chance at qualifying for the National Championship during the MLB All-Star game in California.
Eaton had six competiting on Saturday — all present or past Eaton Little League players. Gavin Downs and Emilee Hargis competed in the 7-8 year old divisions. CJ Bailey represented in the 9-10 year old division. Theo Winings took part in the 11-12 year old division. Kayleigh Michael and Alex McCarty were in the 13-14 year old divisions.
All of those kids won second place, except for Michael, who won first place and has the opportunity to be chosen for that national level competition. All six of our competitors were supported by over 25 family members and friends who traveled to GABP to cheer them on.
Kayleigh’s dad, Jeff Michael, shared “Congratulations to my daughter Kayleigh for winning the Pitch, Hit and Run at Great American Ball Park and being the Cincinnati Reds Team champion. Good luck on June 27, when they announce the three girls to compete for the National Championships.”
He also added, “I would like to personally take the time to say thank you to Chuck and Rhonda Winings. Without them my daughter would not have been able to compete in and win the Team Championship. They brought this competition to Eaton a couple years ago and keep it going every year. Thank you very much.”
As for Kayleigh, she has been competing in the PHR since it was brought to Eaton in 2013. She has been a PHR Local and Sectional champion every year.
In 2013, she made it to the Team Championship and finished third. This year she was focused on a first place finish.
“The main difference was my confidence and not getting all worked up,” she said. Kayleigh also stated that the pitching part is her favorite, “because it’s the hardest challenge.”
When asked how she felt when they announced her name as the champion Kayleigh admitted she “cried… all that work had finally paid off. I was so happy!” Not only did Kayleigh get a first place plaque, and the possibility of advancing to the National Level, she was also rewarded with a pre-game trip on the Reds’ field and was recognized by the Reds organization and stadium.
“I was nervous about going on the field but my Dad told me that was the easy part. The hard part (actual competition) was done and I should just go out and enjoy it. It was a blast being down on the field… even though I did not meet any Reds players,” she said.
Minor League division update
The Minor league teams wrap-up their regular season this week and start their league tournament on Saturday, June 18, with games at 10 a.m. and 12:15 p.m.
Last week the Braves had two games. Against the Dodgers, Gavin Winings and Jon Hewitt pitched combining for 10 strikeouts. Hewitt also had two hits, an extra double, and scored a run. Teammate Albert Lockwood helped with two RBIs. On Friday evening they played the Yankees on the Major League field. Trevor Davis pitched for nine strikeouts, adding an offensive double, triple, two RBIs and two runs scored. Logan Irby also pitched an innind and racked up two strikeouts. Kip Deaton had an inside the park homerun, four RBIs and scored twice.
Major League division update
This week is the last week of regular season games for the Major League as well. After this week’s games the teams will be seeded for their league tournament, which runs all of next week. As of now, the Cubs (11-2) are in first place followed by the Reds, Indians, Astros, and the White Sox.
On Monday, the Cubs defeated the White Sox 11-6. Eric Allison got the win holding the White Sox scoreless for two innings with four strikeouts. The Cubs scored every inning starting in the first with a two-out double by Brady Davis who was hit in by Fletcher Postlewait’s double. Postlewait went 2-2 with three RBIs, a walk, and a run scored.
Thursday was a rematch between the Cubs and the Reds, and they are now split because the Cubs won 8-6. Cubs’ Brady Davis pitched four innings, allowing two runs off four hits and racking up 10 Ks. Theo Winings and Henry Kochensparger pitched the last two innings, where Kochensparger held the Reds scoreless for 1 2/3 innings, allowing only one on base and getting four Ks. Offensively, the Reds struck first, earning two runs in the top of the first off a leadoff walk by Ryota Sata and a follow-up single by Clayton Gregg. Both later scored off singles by Kobe Wise and Tristan Apking.
But the Cubs immediately struck back with three runs from a lead-off walk by Hunter DeGrasse, who scored the next at bat when Theo Winings got his first career homerun.
Davis and Postlewait followed with walks where Davis later scored on an error. The Cubs scored two more in the 3rd when Davis hit a bomb scoring himself and Winings who had reached base on a single. In the 5th the Reds battled back, scoring four runs off two singles by Gregg and Drew Michael, two errors, and a walk, putting them ahead 6-5.
But the Cubs would answer and raise with three more runs starting with one out walks by Tanner Staggs and DeGrasse who both advanced on a passed ball during the next at bat. With two outs, Davis walked to load the bases. Postlewait came through with a bases clearing single to centerfield before being thrown out at second base. A great game by both teams.
And Friday night, under the lights, the Cubs beat the Astros 13-8. Nine of 10 players earned base hits for the Cubs and eight of nine Astros reached base with six of them scoring one or more runs. Josh Martin reached base all four times with two walks and two singles, two runs scored and two RBIs.
For the Cubs, Staggs also reached base all four times with two walks, a single, double, three runs scored and two RBIs. Allison also scored three runs and had three walks. Winings went 2-3 with a single, a double, a walk and 2 runs scored. He also earned the win with 4 2/3 innings pitched, allowing five hits and eight strikeouts. DeGrasse closed it out allowing no runs.
The Reds also had three games this week going 2-1. The week started with a 14-9 win over the Indians. Thursday night they played the Cubs as mentioned above. The Reds finished the week off with a victory over the Astros, 6-5.