NEW YORK -- Playing at Yankee Stadium is a lifelong dream for many New York baseball fans. Some never will get the chance, but on Saturday, 24 children -- some as young as 7 -- took to the diamond for the Pitch, Hit & Run competition.
As eager children waited with their parents in the Yankee Stadium lobby before the event began at 7 a.m. ET, they posed with statues and took photographs to mark the lasting memories of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
"Obviously, Yankee Stadium's one of the premier venues, so I think we had a great day," said Bennett Mayfield, a coordinator from Pitch, Hit & Run. "Good scores out there, good kids, it was a great event."
The Yankees hosted their iteration of the Pitch, Hit & Run competition presented by Scotts on Saturday morning. All 30 Major League ballparks host a regional championship that determines winners from four age groups -- ages 7 and 8, 9 and 10, 11 and 12, and 13 and 14 -- for both boys and girls. The winners from across New York, New Jersey and Connecticut were hopeful to become the next Eric Hosmer or Chris Parmelee -- both alumni of the program. They are eligible to head across town to the Mets' Citi Field for the national competition on July 15 before the Home Run Derby as part of All-Star Weekend.
The 24 finalists will be announced June 30 on MLB Network.
But Saturday was as much a day to be commemorated as anything. As family members circled around the field, they snapped photographs of their children competing in the historic stadium.
"Thanks to the Yankees, they're all coming back to the game today," Mayfield said. "Their families receive tickets, and the eight winners will be recognized in the pregame ceremonies."
Chris Iseman, Josh Vitale and David Wilson are associate reporters for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.