Sign up to play your way onto field at Oriole Park

KIDS' CORNER

May 29, 1994|By Mark Hyman | Mark Hyman,Sun Staff Writer

Until now, there has been only one way for a kid to get inside Camden Yards: Buy a ticket.

This year, there's one other way. Kids with good baseball skills can win a visit to the ballpark if they prove they're the best young players in Maryland.

If that sounds interesting, you'll want to hear more about Pitch, Hit & Run, a new national contest sponsored by Major League Baseball for boys and girls 9 to 13 years old.

Baltimore is one of 11 cities getting a visit this summer from Pitch, Hit & Run.

Pitch, Hit & Run comes to Maryland on July 23-24. A "skills competition" will be held at Arundel High School. From 3,000 to 5,000 kids are expected to sign up for the contests -- pitching for accuracy, hitting for distance and sprint- ing.

While the kids play ball, parents can munch on hot dogs and pizza or show off their baseball skills in games open to all fans. Some of the games will be an infield pop-up competition, a steal home challenge and a home run derby.

Back to the kids' competition: The top six finishers from each of the five age-based divisions are winners, and they go to an area final held at Camden Yards before the Orioles-Cleveland Indians game on July 26.

The winners that day get an even bigger reward -- a free trip to Arlington, Texas, for the national finals, Sept. 17 at The Ballpark.

The local Pitch, Hit & Run contest wouldn't be possible without a lot of volunteer help from the Arundel Sports Boosters.

More than 300 volunteers will be needed to run the competitions, said Sandy Hedrick, a member of the boosters club.

The club also will run the food booths. Money they make will be used to help purchase sports equipment and pay for other projects.

There's plenty of time to sign up for Pitch, Hit & Run. In Anne Arundel County, forms are available at a lot of schools and through youth baseball leagues. Soon, forms also will be available at Champs sports store.

If you live out of the area, another idea is to call the Maryland Sports Corp. at (800) 536-5817. If you leave your name and number, an entry blank will be mailed to you.

It costs $12 to sign up. For that, you get a gift bag that includes a special baseball card, a poster and other prizes. When a group of 10 or more kids signs up, the entry fee is $9.50 for each.

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