Alisha Hillard is 9 years old and stands just 4 feet 5, but her confidence is sky-high heading into this weekend's Major League Baseball-sponsored Pitch, Hit & Run contest.
"My mother has been pitching to me, and I can hit it about 20 miles," said Alisha, who will enter the fifth grade this fall at Harriet Tubman Elementary School. "I've been throwing pretty straight. I think I can throw it about 10 miles."
Confidence runs high in the Hillard family, and Alisha's sister, Danielle, 10, has similarly lofty goals. She concedes throwing is the weakest of the three skills she'll be judged on at Arundel High School, but Danielle claims she can "run like a road runner" and hit the ball "halfway over their heads."
"I think I can win," said Danielle, a sixth-grader at Harlem Park Middle School who will compete in the 11-year-old group. "I've been practicing a lot."
The oldest of Brenda Hillard's three children, Lovette, wouldn't go into as much detail about her athletic prowess, but she shares the optimism of her younger sisters.
"I think I'll win because I practice," she said.
For any of the Hillards to win, they will have to finish in the top six in their respective groups. Each contestant will pitch for accuracy, hit for distance and run for time.
Local winners will advance to the area finals to be conducted before the Orioles' second game with the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday at Camden Yards. The five age-group winners at Oriole Park will advance to the national championships, scheduled for Sept. 17 at The Ballpark in Arlington, Texas.
What: Major League Baseball's Pitch, Hit & Run
When: Tomorrow, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 4:30
Where: Arundel High School, Gambrills
Who: Boys and girls ages 9-13 are eligible for skills competition
Cost: Admission is free; $15 contestant fee
Directions: (From Baltimore Beltway) -- I-695 to Route 97 South. Go approximately 10 miles, then take Route 175 West approximately three miles. School will be on left.