"It feels like redemption," Bulger said. "I wanted to get back on the field and see if I could make up for that -- and I did. I just put in everything I have. My first swing was pretty good, so I could just unload on all the rest and watch it fly."
The 2016 All-Star Game presented by MasterCard and staged at Petco Park is set for Tuesday, with coverage starting at 7:30 p.m. ET on FOX.
To take home the PHR championship, each participant competed in three different categories. The first involved six chances to pitch a softball from 35 feet away (for the girls) or a baseball from 45 feet (for the boys) to a target 17 inches by 30 inches (the size of a Major League strike zone). The second event was hitting off a tee for both distance and accuracy (the goal is to hit the ball straight up the middle, as far as you can on the fly). And the final event was a timed dash from second base, around third and to home plate.
Rylee Kalocay from Upper St. Clair, Pa., and Alexander Smith from Miami took home the 7/8 softball and baseball divisions, respectively. Kate Verhoef of Aliso Viejo, Calif., and Elias Bosang of nearby Santee, Calif., won the 9/10 softball and baseball divisions, respectively. Kaiea Higa of Maple Valley, Wash., and Elijha Hammill of Oakville, Ontario, took home the 11/12 softball and baseball titles, respectively. Bulger took the boys' honors in the oldest division, while Abby Larson of Marlborough, Mass., won the 13/14 softball championship.
For Larson, she couldn't have had a better experience.
"It is so amazing," Larson said. "Actually stepping out and getting to play on the same field as MLB players was a great experience."
But while not everyone could be crowned champion, PHR representative Matt Engleka was quick to remind people that just getting to this point was a tremendous accomplishment.
"What a great opportunity for these kids to be out on the same field where the MLB stars are going to be standing," Engleka said. "They've outscored over 625,000 kids across North America and earned this trip of a lifetime. Considering the big stage these young ballplayers were placed on today, they all did outstanding."