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Next stop for Minnard, Albright: Yankee Stadium

Adam Minnard, 12, left, and Caden Albright, 9, right, are heading to Yankee Stadium later this month to compete in the Pitch, Hit and Run competition.

Joe McIntyre/staff photographer

Adam Minnard, 12, left, and Caden Albright, 9, right, are heading to Yankee Stadium later this month to compete in the Pitch, Hit and Run competition.

Adam Minnard and Caden Albright will be taking in some Major League baseball later this month.
First, though, they’ve got work to do.

Minnard, the son of Tom and Renee Minnard of Cortland, and Albright, the son of Ben and Abbey Albright of Virgil, will be part of the Team Competition level of the Scott’s Pitch, Hit and Run program at Yankee Stadium on the morning of June 25.
Minnard, 12, will compete in the Boys’ 11-12 age group and Albright, 9, is in the Boys’ 9-10 age group in the Bronx after both won at the Sectional level June 4 at NBT Stadium, the home of the International League’s Syracuse Chiefs. Their scores were compared to scores from other sectional events in the state, and both were among the top three, which earned them berths in the Team Competition.

Also earning medals at NBT Stadium were Jaheim Robinson, who placed second in the Boy’s 7-8 age group, and Jake Gilbert, who was third in the Boys’ 13-14 age group.

Minnard, a seventh-grader at Cortland Junior-Senior High, and Albright, a third-grader at Virgil Elementary, had earned the right to compete in Syracuse by winning their age groups in the local Pitch, Hit and Run competition in Cortland last month. Points are awarded for pitching at a major-league strike zone from 46 feet, hitting a baseball off a tee for distance and on a line off a tee and running 160 feet from a bit past second base to home plate.

“My dad was a lot of help and so were my coaches, Sparky Case and Jeff Carr,” Minnard said. “Just being able to participate is the best part for me. I just hope I do well. I’m a Yankees fan, and it’s a thrill to be going to Yankee Stadium for the first time.”

“It feels really good. I was kind of surprised,” Albright said. “I think I have a pretty good chance.
“The reason I’m going is my dad. If he didn’t coach me I wouldn’t have gone all the way,” he added, father Ben Albright a former SUNY Cortland standout now coaching the Cortland High varsity. “It’s all pretty cool and exciting, especially possibly seeing the Yankees game after.”

Each participant in the Team Championship the morning of June 25 receives two tickets, including one for themselves, to the Yankees’ game against the Twins that afternoon. All eight age-group winners, boys — and girls, competing with softballs — ages 7-8, 9-10, 11-12 and 13-14 — will be recognized in pre-game ceremonies, and the names of all competitors wiill be displayed on the scoreboard.

The scores of each age-group winner in Team Championships at each of the 30 major-league ballparks are compared, with the top three nationally in each age group for each gender earning all-expenses-paid trips to All-Star weekend in San Diego for the national finals. Part of that experience is shagging fly balls in the outfield during the Home Run Derby on July 11.

Other area youths who have advanced to competition at major-league parks in past years include Cortland’s Mike Avery in 2001, Yale Brian Hughes in 2005 as well as 2009 (when he won the Boys’ 13-14 crown at Yankee Stadium), Justin Prentice in 2009 and 2010 (winning the Boys’ 13-14 title the latter year at Yankee Stadium), Chris Tillotson from Marathon in 2011, Jake Woods from Cortland in 2012 (second in Boys’ 13-14 at Citi Field) and Noah Barber from Cuyler in 2013 (second in boys’ 11-12 at Yankee Stadium) and 2014.