MLB Crowns Champions of All-Star Week Youth Skills Competitions

Major League Baseball today announced the winners of its national youth skills competitions - Scotts MLB Pitch, Hit & Run and T-Mobile Jr. Home Run Derby. Both competitions fall under the "PLAY BALL" initiative, a joint program from MLB, USA Baseball, USA Softball and Minor League Baseball that focuses on the fun nature of the game and encourages widespread participation in baseball- and softball-related activities. The winner of the 2016 High School Home Run Derby was also determined during breaks of the T-Mobile Home Run Derby.
 
Inaugural T-Mobile Jr. Home Run Derby National Finals

Matthew Mebane from North Augusta, South Carolina is the National Champion for the 12 and under age division. Aidan O'Halloran from Owens Cross Roads, Alabama is the National Champion for the 14 and under age division. The young men competed in a field of 16 national finalists (eight in each division) on Saturday, July 9th at Petco Park. National Finalists advanced after winning their respective regional championships, which were determined after more than 800 competitions across the United States.
 
All finalists, including the winners of the T-Mobile Jr. Home Run Derby contest, were recognized at the T-Mobile Home Run Derby, which was won by Miami Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton. The inaugural T-Mobile Jr. Home Run Derby launched in March 2016 and provided thousands of kids from across the country, ages 14 and under, an opportunity to participate in a fun-focused home run hitting contest. 
 
Scotts MLB Pitch, Hit & Run Finals

Following are the champions of the various age divisions of the 2016 Scotts MLB Pitch, Hit & Run Finals, which were held today, July 11th, at Petco Park:

• Ages 7/8 (Softball): Rylee Kalocay, Upper St. Clair, PA (Pittsburgh Pirates)
• Ages 7/8 (Baseball): Alexander Smith, Miami, FL (Miami Marlins)
• Ages 9/10 (Softball): Kate Verhoef, Aliso Viejo, CA (Los Angeles Angels)
• Ages 9/10 (Baseball): Elias Bosang, Santee, CA (San Diego, Padres)
• Ages 11/12 (Softball): Kaiea Higa, Maple Valley, WA (Seattle Mariners)
• Ages 11/12 (Baseball): Elijha Hammill, Oakville, ON (Toronto Blue Jays)
• Ages 13/14 (Softball): Abby Larson, Marlborough, MA (Boston Red Sox)
• Ages 13/14 (Baseball): Jack Bulger, Bowie, MD (Baltimore Orioles)
 
All finalists, including the Scotts MLB Pitch, Hit & Run Finals Champions, will be recognized prior to the 2016 MLB All-Star Game presented by MasterCard. Beginning in March, approximately 625,000 youth participated in more than 4,600 competitions in either the baseball or softball divisions throughout the United States and Canada. Scotts MLB Pitch, Hit & Run encourages youth players to develop their skills by competing in pitching, hitting, and running competitions, which begin at the local level and continuing through sectional and team championships. Team championships are hosted by each of the 30 MLB ballparks between the end of May and into late June. Scotts, the Official Lawn Care Company of Major League Baseball, is in its fourth year sponsoring the competition. Eric Hosmer of the Kansas City Royals, Chris Parmelee of the New York Yankees and Matt Wisler of the Atlanta Braves are all Pitch, Hit & Run alumni.
 
2016 High School Home Run Derby

Nick Brueser (Chandler, AZ) defeated Nicholas Storz (Brooklyn, NY) in the finals of the MLB High School Home Run Derby during breaks of the T-Mobile Home Run Derby. Brueser is an infielder for Hamilton High School (graduating in 2017) and has committed to play at Stanford. Storz is a first baseman and pitcher for Poly Prep Country Day School. He is also graduating in 2017 and has committed to play at LSU. On Sunday, July 10th, Major League Baseball hosted eight High School players from the United States, Mexico and Puerto Rico in the seminfinals of the 2016 MLB High School Home Run Derby. Participating players were selected in conjunction with MLB, USA Baseball and MLB International. 
 
About the 'PLAY BALL' initiative

PLAY BALL aims to give kids the opportunity to enjoy the game in a fun environment by highlighting the many ways baseball and softball can be played by providing a memorable experience. PlayBall.org is the PLAY BALL initiative's online home and is accessible via MLB.com, USABaseball.com, USASoftball.com and other partner websites. PlayBall.org features youth-oriented content, including baseball trivia and quizzes and video highlights from MLB games, social media content, photos and a "PlayBall Near You" interactive map that locates local community leagues. The site also features access to video podcasts and highlights from MLB Network's new youth-focused show "Play Ball," which features interviews and on-field demonstrations with top players throughout the League, including Nolan Arenado, Josh Donaldson, Todd Frazier, Curtis Granderson, Matt Kemp, Francisco Lindor, Evan Longoria and Dustin Pedroia. "Play Ball" airs on Saturdays at 10:00 a.m. ET. PlayBall.org also links to USABaseball.com, which provides players, parents and coaches with the information and resources to help with proper play and instruction, including educational videos featuring Hall of Famer and MLB Network analyst John Smoltz, Chicago Cubs Manager Joe Maddon, and Kansas City Royals Senior Vice President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Dayton Moore, among others.