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MLB honors different kind of S.T.A.R.

MLB honors different kind of S.T.A.R.

SAN FRANCISCO -- Six Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) members will have a chance to experience all the festivities of All-Star Week as special guests of Major League Baseball.

The six BGCA members were selected as the inaugural recipients of the first annual MLB S.T.A.R. Award. The award recognizes youth who demonstrate sportsmanship, team spirit, achievement and responsibility.

The award winners and their families were welcomed to All-Star Week at a special reception at the Hilton San Francisco on Saturday evening and will take part in events through Tuesday's All-Star Game.

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The six S.T.A.R. Award winners from each region are: Northeast: Luis Urueta, 14 (Boys & Girls Club of Lodi, NJ); Southeast: Van William Mclean, 11 (Boys & Girls Club of Raleigh, NC); Midwest: Faith Hess, 15 (Boys & Girls Club of the Eastern Panhandle, Berkeley County Unit, WV); Southwest: Kristin Walker, 15 (Boys & Girls Club of Frisco, TX); Pacific: Daniel Anderson, 17 (Boys & Girls Club of Spokane County, WA); and Overseas: Maddison Byrd, 13 (Ramstein US Air Base Youth Center, Germany).

The S.T.A.R. Award winners will attend the XM All-Star Futures Game and Taco Bell All-Star Legends and Celebrity Softball Game on Sunday, the State Farm Home Run Derby on Monday and the 78th All-Star Game on Tuesday at AT&T Park, where they will have a chance to meet many baseball officials and players. On Tuesday, they will receive MLB S.T.A.R. Award trophies in an on-field ceremony prior to the All-Star Game.

In addition, using the S.T.A.R. Award's criteria of sportsmanship, team spirit, achievement and responsibility, MLB Commissioner Bud Selig will select one national award winner from the six regional S.T.A.R. Award winners to attend a World Series game in October.

MLB and Giants representatives, Futures Game players, and several team mascots attended the reception to welcome the award winners.

Among the officials in attendance were MLB Executive VP, Business, Tim Brosnan; Sharon Robinson, daughter of baseball legend Jackie Robinson; MLB Senior VP, Advertising and Marketing, Jacqueline Parkes; MLB Vice President, Community Affairs Tom Brasuell; and Giants Executive VP and COO Larry Baer.

Futures Game players Brian Bocock, Cameron Maybin and Henry Sosa, and former Giants All-Star Vida Blue also attended and congratulated the winners.

Maybin said he grew up going to Boys & Girls Clubs, so he was excited to participate in the S.T.A.R. Award reception.

"I thought it would be a great opportunity to come out and meet these guys and let them know that I went through the Boys & Girls Club too," Maybin said.

Maybin learned he had a home state connection with S.T.A.R. Award winner Mclean.

"It was kind of cool to meet a fellow North Carolinian," he said. Maybin is from Asheville, N.C., and Mclean is from Raleigh, N.C.

Maybin said he was involved in his local Boys & Girls Club for about five or six years when he was growing up, going after school and participating in summer camps.

"It definitely gave me a place to meet new people and a good environment to hang out in," he said.

Mclean was happy to meet someone from North Carolina all the way across the country.

"That's really cool," Mclean said. He was glad to meet the players at the reception and is looking forward to meeting more throughout All-Star Week.

"I've never met any players from a Major League Baseball team," he said.

Mclean said he is excited to attend the All-Star Week events, and is especially looking forward to the Home Run Derby.

"I feel great because not a lot of kids get to do what I'm doing," said Mclean.

S.T.A.R. Award winner Byrd and her mother traveled more than 11 hours on a plane from Germany to come to All-Star Week. Byrd said it was worth the trip.

"It feels so great, to learn that out of so many applicants that I was picked as one of the six, I was so happy," Byrd said.

She said she was thankful to have a chance to meet both Blue and the Futures Game players. Byrd plays softball at the Ramstein US Air Base Youth Center.

"My dad's in the military, he's in the Air Force, he's stationed there for about three years," Byrd said. "We moved there last July ... it's so beautiful. It's very quiet, very clean, the Germans are so nice."

Byrd is playing on an All-Star team of her own in Germany. Her team will soon compete in regional tournaments against other European teams for a chance to play in the Little League World Series' Senior League Softball tournament in Delaware.

Byrd will have plenty of inspiration for her tournament in Germany when she returns from MLB's All-Star Week.

"I was so overjoyed that I would have this experience to come over to San Francisco," she said.

Christie Cowles is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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