‘Diamond Skills’ to take place next week

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 4, 2001

Sports Editor

Pike County boys and girls ages 7-14 can compete in the upcoming Diamond Skills competition to be held by the Troy Parks and Recreation Department on Wednesday, May 9th at the CHHS baseball field.

Major League Baseball Diamond Skills is an annual competition sponsored by Toys "R" Us and the toy store’s administrative agency, Universal Marketing Associates, Inc. The competition gives youngsters from across the nation a chance to showcase their batting, fielding/throwing, and base running abilities.

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"If you want to compare it to something it’s similar to the Punt, Pass and Kick events held during football season," said TPRD Youth Sports Director Vaughn Daniels.

Since Diamond Skills is a national program there are four levels of competition through which a youngster may advance. The first is on the local level. Overall winners there then move on to the sectionals in Dothan where first place All-Around Champions will qualify to advance to the team championships held in June. The last event is the National Finals held in Seattle, Wa. at the 2001 All-Star Game.

"The one with the total points in all three categories of their class will go to Dothan for the sectionals," said Daniels.

Sectional competition will be held on May 12th.

Daniels said a copy of the child’s birth certificate will be required upon registration. But Daniels also said that registration forms for the competition, which may be picked up at the TPRD Main Office on Elm Street, will be accepted up until Wednesday.

"We can take applications here," said Daniels. "But what we’re doing right now is handing out flyers to all the kids that are playing ball in our leagues. If there are kids that are not playing ball with us, they can come by here and pick up a registration form. If the kids show up on Wednesday with the form, we’ll take them."

Daniels said Diamond Skills is a chance for children to participate in a program designed to put emphasis on the "fun" aspect of baseball.

"This is something that is pretty worthwhile," said Daniels. "Last year we had a number of kids advance to the sectionals, including Blake Phelps, William Teal and Foster Styron."

For batting,, youngsters are awarded points for distance and accuracy and allowed to hit the ball off of a tee. In the fielding/throwing category, the participant is thrown a groudball, which must be fielded and thrown between two stationary cones located at home plate. In base-running, the youngster will be timed starting from second base to third and then home.

The four age groups are: 7-8, 9-10, 11-12 and 13-14. Boys and girls will compete together.