Area youth can reach the MLB All-Star Week

SALEM — Boys and girls ages 7 to 14 have a chance on May 18 at Waterworth Memorial Park to pitch, hit and run their way to the Major Leagues and eventually the National Finals during the 2019 Major League Baseball All-Star Week in Cleveland this July.

Similar to the Punt, Pass and Kick contest hosted by the NFL, Pitch Hit & Run is the official skills competition for the MLB, giving kids an opportunity to compete and show off their core skills for baseball or softball. Salem Parks & Recreation and the Salem Community Center are partnering to host the free local competition for area youth this year.

“I’m excited to bring this to Salem,” Parks Director Shane Franks said.

The event begins at 9 a.m. and includes individual contests for pitching, hitting and running in both baseball and softball. Boys and girls are divided into four age divisions: 7/8, 9/10, 11/12, and 13/14. Champions for pitching, hitting and running and the all-around champion in each division age group at the local competition will be advanced to the sectional level of competition.

According to the poster about Pitch Hit & Run, competitors have the chance to advance through four levels of competition, including the local contest, sectionals, then team championships at Major League ball parks and the National Finals during All-Star Week.

All participants must bring a copy of a valid birth document for age verification and must have their parent or guardian fill out a registration/waiver form before the competition begins.

Franks is serving as the local coordinator and any questions can be directed to him at 330-271-8913.

“This is a great opportunity for our parks to be involved in something this big,” Salem Parks Commission member Lucille Karnofel said.

To learn more about Pitch Hit & Run, visit the MLB website at www.mlb.com/pitch-hit-and-run.

Franks talked about the contest during the recent Salem Parks Commission meeting. In other business, the commission approved an Eagle Scout Project for Zach Mastari of Troop 3, for the construction of bat houses. The plan is for Mastari to build and install at least four bat houses in the parks to give bats a place to hang out. Commission Chairman John Panezott said these houses can draw bats in and that’s good for the parks because they eat bugs, including mosquitoes. They can help keep the mosquito population down.

“They’re good for the habitat,” Parks Foreman Jim Grimm said.

There’s already a bat house near the duck pond at Waterworth Memorial Park.

The commission also received an update on the tennis court project at Waterworth Memorial Park, which is being financed by the Salem Community Foundation. The company working on the project, Vasco, already stripped the old courts down and put new gravel down over the base and that needs to bake a little. Franks said the company plans to come back possibly this week to start paving.

He noted that the company overestimated the amount of gravel needed and has agreed to pave that whole area near the tennis courts, an additional 4,000 square feet of new pavement. There’s also a new parking lot for the band shell that was already a separate project.

“It’s going to be really nice when it’s done,” he said.

Plans are for the project to be done possibly by June.



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