Christian Gaines (12) and Madison Ooley (8) at the Major League Baseball Pitch, Hit & Run National Finals during the 2023 World Series.

In July, the Bloomingdale Youth Sports Association (BYSA) held their first-ever Major League Baseball Pitch Hit & Run event. Major League Baseball Pitch Hit & Run (PHR) is a free event that provides boys and girls an opportunity to showcase their baseball and softball skills while competing for a chance to attend the national finals at the Major League Baseball World Series.

Two of Bloomingdale’s PHR winners, Madison Ooley and Christian Gaines, made it to the PHR National Finals that took place on October 29.

Ooley (age 8) won the 7/8 Softball Division team finals for the Miami Marlins on August 26. Gaines (age 12) won the 11/12 Baseball Division team finals on October 2 for the Tampa Bay Rays. They both earned an all-expense paid trip to nationals in Texas for themselves and one guardian.

Gaines won the 11/12 Division PHR National Finals. He competed against players from Canada, Puerto Rico, Arizona and Texas.

“I loved being able compete against players throughout North America. I learned the importance of putting in hard work. I practiced for many hours to increase my chances of winning,” Gaines said.

Ooley said what she learned from the PHR program is the importance of working towards goals.

“I learned that I should always be confident in myself and work hard for something I really want,” Ooley said.

The PHR program created a memorable experience for each child at nationals. In addition to getting to compete at the national stage level, the trip included video interviews, photographers, unlimited arcade time and tickets to attend game two of the World Series.

“The best part was all of the fun events they had planned for us and that we got treated like celebrity athletes,” Ooley said.

BYSA President David Nolte is excited about the PHR event and success from Bloomingdale.

“BYSA is extremely proud of both Christian and Madison and very excited for their success. Two players who both played at Bloomingdale and also qualified for the MLB Pitch, Hit & Run event at our park,” Nolte said. “BYSA is also excited to be hosting the MLB Pitch, Hit & Run event again in 2024. We would love to see future players emulate the success Madison and Christian achieved this year.”

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