North Xtra: Hampton youth puts cap on pitch-hit-run title
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As he competed in the national championship of Major League Baseball's Pitch, Hit and Run competition, 12-year-old Pittsburgh Pirates fan Kyler Fedko wore a Cleveland Indians cap.
Believe it or not, it makes sense.
Fedko, from Hampton, went on to be crowned the 12u national champion, besting other 11- and 12-year-olds in the competition and earning the chance to field balls in the outfield during the Home Run Derby at the MLB All-Star game.
But about that Indians hat: Fedko has played for teams around the country, including the Central Florida Gators and the Ohio Glaciers. The Glaciers play in Struthers, Ohio -- Cleveland Indians territory -- where Fedko took part in the local Pitch, Hit and Run competition.
Because Fedko first participated in the Indians' area, the MLB locked him into that area, said his father, John, a sportscaster at WPXI-TV and the president of Vincentian Academy in McCandless.
And so Kyler Fedko eventually moved on to participate at Progressive Field, with each stadium holding a competition of its own. The top three highest-scoring competitors, as announced on MLB Network, would go to the All-Star Game to participate.
Fedko was one of them.
"Obviously, we go crazy and get an all expense paid trip to the All-Star Game," John Fedko said.
Kyler Fedko had the chance to compete before the Home Run Derby. His dad contacted the MLB, hoping his son could now wear a Pirates hat as he participated.
"They said he could have if the kid from the Pirates' area wouldn't have made it," John Fedko said.
Though he never got to wear the hat of his favorite team, he did get to meet players from it. Kyler Fedko met both Andrew McCutchen and Joel Hanrahan.
Dodgers' pitcher Clayton Kershaw also met Fedko. John Fedko said Kershaw and Kyler talked alone for about 10 minutes.
Finally, Fedko had a chance to be a part of the Home Run Derby as one of the kids who catches the fly ball outs.
"He didn't catch any, though," John Fedko said. "You had 12 kids running after it and they ended up dropping."
When the day was over, it was obvious to John Fedko that his son had the time of his life.
"Kyler is a very shy kid. He doesn't say a lot, but I could just tell he was having a really great time.
"He got a huge trophy, that's cool. He won, and that's cool, too. But he got to hang out with the all-stars, and he'll remember that for the rest of his life."
First Published July 26, 2012 12:00 am