Pitch, Hit, Run participants thrilled to compete at Coors

DENVER -- Emma Nelson had never participated in Major League Baseball's Pitch, Hit & Run Presented by Scotts competition until this year. But that didn't stop the South Jordan, Utah, native from claiming a first-place plaque in the girls' 13-14 age division on Saturday at Coors Field.

"It was awesome," Nelson said with a huge smile on her face. "I really liked it."

Nelson finished the morning as one of the competition's eight winners from a pool of 24participants, spanning eight divisions. Pitch, Hit & Run is a national competition that will culminate this July during All-Star Week in Cincinnati.

A nearly flawless sunny morning provided the perfect backdrop for Saturday's events, which generated much excitement and energy from the competitors, aged 7-14.

Parents cheered from just behind the visiting dugout as the participants went through the different drills, which included running from second to home, taking swings off a tee and delivering pitches to a strike zone.

"I love it. It's so much fun," said two-time participant Ethan Miller, a Centennial, Colo., native and champion of the boys' 13-14 age division.

The other winners were: Bailey Dana (7-8 girls), Brooke Wright (9-10 girls), Jacey Garrett (11-12 girls), Connor Larkin (7-8 boys), Keon Bandy (9-10 boys) and Dawson Dunbar (11-12 boys).

Like many of Saturday's competitors, Miller is a Rockies fan, and he was more than excited to borrow Coors Field from guys like Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez -- even if it was just for one morning.

"The field is amazing," Miller said.

Pitch Hit & Run started in 1997, and more than 4,000 local competitions are held each year. Participants must advance through a local competition and sectionals to reach the team competition held in each Major League city.

The top three winners from each age group among all 30 teams will have the opportunity to participate in the national competition, which will be held at Great American Ball Park during All-Star Week in July. The finalists will be announced on June 28 on MLB Network.

Regardless of what happens next, Nelson, like Miller, said that playing on Coors Field was an unforgettable experience.

"It was so cool, and it was actually really fun," Nelson said.

Dargan Southard is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.