CLEVELAND — Ryan Walsh and Gavin Markel will be on the edge of their seats waiting for the chance of a lifetime following the regional Pitch, Hit and Run competition held at Progressive Field on June 21.
Walsh won the youngest regional division (7-8-year-olds) while Markel won the 11-12 category and both hope to qualify to compete at the All-Star Game at Minneapolis on July 15. The three highest scorers from regional competition from across the country will have a chance to compete in the national finals.
The winners will be notified by Major League Baseball today.
Carter Vilevac of Sheffield finished second in the 9-10-year-old group.
“I felt pretty good,” said Walsh, son of Kristen and Mike Walsh, the former Elyria High girls basketball coach. “It was exciting to get on the field where the Indians play.”
“We’re excited for him,” said his father. “He’s worked hard. He’s been swinging a bat since he was 2 years old. It was a great opportunity for him to be at Progressive Field.”
Markel, son of Bret Markel and Dreama Bolen of South Amherst, is eagerly awaiting tonight’s announcement.
“I’ll be jumping up and down if my name’s called,” he said. “It felt good just to compete in the final three at Progressive Field.”
“We’re very excited,” said his mother. “The first competition at Crushers Stadium was really on a whim. One of the coaches told him about it and he gave it a try.”
Markel plays third base, pitcher and catcher for the T3 Rays travel team out of Avon, which is coached by Michael Cross.
The younger Walsh said New York Yankees legend Derek Jeter is his favorite player and he wears No. 21 in honor of Roberto Clemente, who was his grandfather’s favorite. His grandfather is Bob Walsh, who won more than 600 games as a basketball coach at Clearview, Oberlin, Vermilion, Elyria Catholic and Elyria High.
Walsh is a shortstop, second baseman and pitcher for the LaGrange Shock, a 10-and-under Hot Stove team coached by Greg Morgan, former basketball coach at Keystone.
Both youngsters got the opportunity to perform at Progressive Field by winning the local competition held at All Pro Freight Stadium in Avon at the end of April and the sectional competition held at Little League West in Elyria earlier this month.
The event, sponsored by Scott’s, featured the top 24 boys and girls qualifiers from northern Ohio. Boys and girls from 7-14 competed in a variety of activities at Progressive Field in front of friends and family members.
The three top placers were all honored prior to last Saturday’s Indians-Tigers game.
Contact Tim Gebhardt at 329-7135 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.