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Minnard qualifies for National Finals

Pitch, Hit & Run

Photo provided

Minnard takes part in the hitting portion of the Scotts Pitch, Hit & Run team competition at Yankee Stadium last month. Minnard is scheduled to compete in the finals on July 16.

This area has a pretty good record of success in Scotts Pitch Hit & Run, a youth baseball competition run in conjunction with Major League Baseball.

Some nine local players have advanced through the local and sectional levels to Team Competitions, held in major-league parks, and six have won at that level, including Adam Minnard twice, in 2016 and this year, at Yankee Stadium on May 27. On Monday, Minnard found out that he had added an impressive new chapter to that ledger of success.

The 14-year-old son of Tom and Renee Minnard of Cortland is going to the National Finals in the 13-14 baseball age group. He was watching the MLB Network, along with his family, on Monday evening when the 24 national competitors were revealed. His name and picture were displayed along with the two other top performers in the age group nationwide.

Out of some 650,000 youths who took part in the program this season in baseball and softball, Minnard is in an elite group of 24 to earn a berth in the National Finals. That competition will take place July 16 in Washington D.C., in conjunction with the MLB All-Star festivities.

“My stomach started to hurt when the announcement began,” Minnard said later on Monday. “They said it would be on after a commercial, and I was hoping that the commercial would be short. My age group was the last one, and when my name and picture were put up on the screen we all flipped out. I’m really excited; I think I have a good chance to win. There were a lot of good scores, though. I’ll have to start practicing again.”

Minnard’s fellow competitors are Matthew Mebane from Hilton Head, S.C, representing the Braves, and Callan Fang from Yardley, Pa., representing the Phillies. Competitors’ scores are not released to the public, but it seems it would be hard to beat Minnard’s performance at Yankee Stadium, when he hit the strike zone with four of six pitches, hit a baseball 380 feet off a tee and ran from second base to home in 5.84 seconds.

Minnard and a guest — his father, according to the family, though other family members may drive down to Washington — will fly to the nation’s capital on July 14, with a uniform fitting, gift bag distribution and welcome dinner slated for later in the day. The select 24 and guests will be able to take in the All- Star Futures Game and the All-Star Legends and Celebrities Softball Game on All-Star Sunday, July 15. The next day they will compete for trophies in their respective age groups before watching the all-star workouts and batting practice. They will then serve as outfield ball shaggers for the MLB Home Run Derby before departing on Tuesday.

“It’s really awesome to be able to do this, a good experience,” said Minnard, who hopes to be a major leaguer one day. “I’m looking forward to being able to compete again and meeting the pros, and having fun shagging balls at the Home Run Derby. I hope that this inspires other local kids to compete in Pitch, Hit & Run. We found out about it three years ago, or I would have been in it sooner.”

A member of the Cortland High junior varsity this past season, Minnard plays summer baseball with the Cortland Eagles 15U Babe Ruth team and the Broome Bandits travel squad.

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