When 8-year-old Jordyn Jerotz attended a local “Pitch, Hit and Run” competition May 6 at Ashley Falls Park in Del Mar, she figured it would be a fun day of baseball, her favorite sport.
Then, she won the competition, and was invited to a sectional event at the same park. Then, she won that, and was invited to the Padres’ regional championship event at Petco Park.
And then she won that, and got the biggest news of her young life to date: Jordyn would compete against the other regional winners at Nationals Park during Major League Baseball’s All-Star Weekend.
“It’s exciting,” Jordyn said with a shy giggle. Like most 8-year-olds, she’s bashful, but the excitement in her voice was obvious. “I’ve been practicing a lot.”
Jordyn said she has been playing softball for two years. Her favorite part: “Pitching and hitting,” she said.
Her favorite player is Padres star Eric Hosmer, who she met during the regional finals of the competition at Petco Park.
She also loves to play soccer and hang out with family and friends.
The “Pitch, Hit, Run” competition is baseball’s answer to football’s punt, pass and kick contest. For the pitching segment of the competition, participants must pitch to a target six times and are given 75 points for each time they hit the “strike zone” target. In the hitting competition, participants hit a ball off of a tee and are scored by how far they hit it in a straight line.
Finally, for running, participants are timed by how fast they run around the base path.
Jordyn’s mother and father, Sarah and Jon Jerotz, said they took Sarah and her 9-year-old brother Jake, who is also an avid baseball fan, to the competition for fun.
When Jordyn won her age group after the local competition, they started to take it a little more seriously. They bought her a tee so she could work on hitting off a tee. They made makeshift targets to help her with her throwing. And they took her to parks so she could run around the bases.
Once she found out that she was going to participate in the championship event, Jordyn took her work ethic to another level
“I am extremely proud of her, I am going to tell you, once she found out she was going, her commitment to practicing has been incredible,” Sarah Jerotz said. “That is what makes me proud.”
In order to advance to the championships, organizers took Jordyn’s scores and compared them to the other regional winners across the country. The top three scores in each division age group out of all 30 MLB Team Championships advanced to the National Finals.
At the July 16 event, Jordyn would have had the highest scores of her peers, if but for one tiny snafu: she didn’t touch home plate in the base running portion, which led to a deduction that knocked her into third place.
But for she and the family, winning or losing didn’t matter. She had the experience of a lifetime.
“It’s OK!” Sarah Jerotz said. “She had a blast in D.C.”
“It feels great, because I get to go on a professional field, and not a lot of kids get to do that,” Jordyn said.