Step aside Nelson Cruz, Oak Harbor’s Taryn Hardy is taking over Safeco Field Sunday, June 12, after the Mariners’ 1:10 game with the Texas Rangers.
Hardy, 10, qualified for the semifinal round of Major League Baseball’s Pitch, Hit and Run contest. The top performers of the sectional rounds from throughout the Northwest meet at Safeco Field, and the winners there will advance to the national finals held during the All-Star Game festivities in San Diego in July.
Hardy, a student at Crescent Harbor Elementary and a member of the North Whidbey Little League’s Angels, won the local Pitch, Hit and Run competition May 1, recording the best score in his division in all three categories.
That qualified Hardy for the sectionals in North Seattle May 22. He posted the best mark in pitching and one of top all-around scores.
The Pitch, Hit and Run officials reviewed the best scores from all the sectionals in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and British Columbia, and informed Hardy this week that he made the grade to compete in the semifinals.
Hardy, the son of John and Louise Hardy, said he is a “little nervous and excited” to get the chance to perform on the Mariners’ diamond.
In the contest, participants throw at a target for accuracy, hit for distance and accuracy and are timed in a run from second base to home plate.
Last year, Oak Harbor’s Kaylee Andersen, then 14, reached the semifinals in softball and finished third at Safeco.
If Hardy moves on to San Diego as the Seattle Mariners’ representative, it would probably be best if he doesn’t mention to Cruz and company that he is a Detroit Tigers fan.