When 8-year-old Hunter Townsend entered the local “Pitch, Hit, Run” competition through Watauga County Parks and Recreation, he had no idea how his hard work was about to pay off.
Over the course of the local competition, Hunter placed in 1st, and advanced to the sectional competition in Winston Salem, North Carolina, where once again, he took 1st place. When his parents, Joey and Lydia Townsend, received the email that Hunter was invited to the Pitch, Hit, Run Team Championship in Atlanta, Georgia, they were ecstatic.
“We knew we had to make the 5 hour drive to Atlanta for Hunter to have this once in a lifetime experience of playing on a professional ball field,” his mom said.
The competition began with over 600,000 kids from the United States and Canada. Only 720 kids make it to a sectional event. In order to make it to the MLB Pitch Hit Run Championship, players have to score in the Top 3 at one of 30 sectional market place competitions. Hunter was a top qualifier for his age bracket at the sectional event for a region that spans Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi.
The championship event was held at Braves Stadium in Atlanta. During the competition, Hunter had the opportunity to compete on the field, where he hit from home plate, ran the bases and got to sit in the Braves dugout.
At the end of the competition, Hunter had placed 3rd overall for his age bracket. He also got tickets to watch the Atlanta Braves take on the Miami Marlins that night. Hunter was given a hat, shirt and trophy for his success.
Hunter said that his favorite part of the entire experience was “getting to hit on the Braves field and watching the Braves game too!”
As for Hunter’s parents, they say it was an honor to take Hunter to Atlanta to give him this chance to compete and show his skills at such a high level. The experience of getting to play on a professional ball field is one that Hunter and his parents will never forget.