By Mason W. Canales
The Cove Herald
Rounding bases, swinging bats and tossing balls await children who participate in the city's Pitch, Hit and Run later this month.
Sponsored by Major League Baseball, the event is the official skills competition for children ages 7 to 14.
"The biggest benefit for (the youth) is to give them the chance to advance," said Mark Willingham, athletics coordinator for Copperas Cove Parks and Recreation.
Children who participate in the March 24 Copperas Cove event will have a chance to advance to a sectional competition and MLB team championship in June, and then the national finals during All-Star Week.
Copperas Cove has sponsored a local MLB competition for at least the last two year, said Willingham. It previously was sponsored by the school district and a nonprofit league.
In the last two years, the sectionals were held at the Dell Diamond in Round Rock, said Willingham, noting the winners might visit the field. So far, the city has sent one person to the state level.
Test players' skills
The three competitions at Pitch, Hit and Run test players' skills, said Willingham. The event also offers players a personal challenge, compared to the normal team play they experience in leagues.
"The point of the competition is the competition itself," he said.
The pitch portion gives children six pitches to test their accuracy of throwing to a strike zone, stated the MLB website. The hit portion allows players to strike three stationary balls in an attempt to land them in centerfield, and hits are measured for distance and accuracy.
In the running sequence, players are measured on sprinting speed from the start line - touching third base - to touching home plate, stated the website. Children start at a distance behind second base before running to third.
Boys and girls will compete separately, and players will be divided into two age groups, said Willingham. The city will award certificates to first, second and third places for each event, age group and gender. Winners for each event in their age group and gender will have a chance to advance, said Willingham.
Contact Mason W. Canales at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7474. Follow him on Twitter at KDHCoveEditor.
If you go
What: Pitch, Hit, and Run
Where: City Park, 1206 W. Avenue B.
When: 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 24
More information: Call Parks and Recreation at (254) 542-2719.