ARLINGTON -- Kylee Sellers' grandmother never gave up on her. When Sellers did not advance to the National Finals of the Pitch, Hit, and Run competition in 2010 and 2011, her grandmother provided her encouraging words as she prepared for 2012. "She told me this year I was going to win it all," Sellers recalled.
Unfortunately, Sellers' grandmother passed away in January. But Sellers is well on her way to proving her right. The third time proved to be the charm for Sellers, who triumphed in the Team Championships at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on Sunday morning and earned a trip to the All-Star Game in Kansas City for the National Finals. Before hearing the good news, Sellers admitted she was nervous. "Anxiety. I've got it bad," she said. "The anticipation is getting to me." Participants in the Pitch, Hit, and Run competition throw six pitches to a "Strike Zone" banner, hit three balls off a tee, and run from second base to home. The 24 qualifiers from Texas, Arkansas, and Oklahoma competed before Sunday's game against the Rockies. The Rangers Team Championship was the last of 30 this year. Sellers, 13, finished at the top of her age group in the Local, Sectional, and Team Championship stages of this year's Pitch, Hit, and Run competition. To get to Kansas City, she had to finish in the top three of her age group nationally. Sellers, along with Brett Hall, made it out of the Rangers Team Championships to reach the National Finals. "So far, I've won at locals. Got first in everything," Sellers said. "I got first in everything at state, and here, first in everything." Hall, a Cedar Park native, finished atop the 7-8 year-old Boys Division. He and Sellers were among 650,000 competitors nationwide that participated and among the 24 that will be in Kansas City next month. There, they will receive in all-expense paid trip to the All-Star Game, which they will attend on July 10. Hall and Sellers will also be shagging fly balls during the Home Run Derby. Both Hall and Sellers had long roads to reach this point, literally and figuratively. Cedar Park and Sellers' hometown of Hugo, Okla., are both more than 150 miles away from the Ballpark in Arlington. "It took us about four hours since we had car trouble," Sellers said. "The fuel engine was messing up." Among the other winners in their age groups at the Rangers Team Championships were Jadyn Goucher (7-8 year-old girls), Penelope Garcia (9-10 year-old girls), Katelyn Roberts (11-12 year-old girls), Samuel Long (9-10 year-old boys), Drew Blakenship (11-12 year-old boys), and Skylar Williams (13-14 year-old boys).
Christian Corona is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.