By Kevin Deutsch
A nine-year-old Parkland girl will showcase her skills at the World Series, competing in the national finals of Major League Baseball’s Pitch, Hit & Run competition.
Jaclyn Milian, a third-grader at Heron Heights Elementary School, bested scores of competitors in her age division (7-8) during four rounds of local competition, plus the high-profile regional contest at loanDepot Park.
Jaclyn’s contest score at the Marlins home ballpark helped place her in the top three female softball competitors in the U.S. and Canada for her age division. This score earns her and her family a trip to Game 4 of the Fall Classic, where Milan will compete for the top prize against Taylor Holmes of Allendale, New Jersey, and Tatum Frisby of Muskogee, Oklahoma.
“I’m very, very excited,” an exuberant Jaclyn said after MLB Network announced her selection for the final, which happened while she was in school.
When her family played a recording of the segment, she was ecstatic.
“When I heard it, I was screaming, shaking my brother,” Jaclyn said.
Jaclyn’s mom, Janet, said her daughter practiced hard to get this far, developing her skills and improving with each round of competition.
The softball wunderkind has been playing competitively since she was 5, progressing through stints in i9 youth baseball, the Coral Springs softball league, Parkland Softball League, and now the Weston Explosion league.
Getting this far in MLB’s signature youth contest requires players to excel in three fundamental facets of the game.
The pitching portion of the program tests how accurately a competitor can throw strikes to a designated strike zone target from a designated distance.
The hitting portion tests a competitor’s ability to hit from a stationary batting tee, along with a tape measure from home plate, toward straight-away centerfield. Hits are measured for distance and accuracy.
Lastly, the running portion measures a competitor’s speed in a sprint from the start line, touching third base and touching home plate.
Jaclyn said she’s been practicing diligently all year to improve her skills. Blessed with a sweet swing and good power, the softball standout has been working to get faster on the basepaths and continues to be locked in at the plate.
She even hit a grand slam in a season-ending league game this year.
“It’s fun,” she said of the MLB contests, which have seen her make new friends and test her mettle.
A number of Major League Baseball standouts have participated in the contest as youngsters, including San Diego Padres first baseman Eric Hosmer, Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Andrew McCutchen, and first baseman Rhys Hoskins and baseball’s number one overall draft pick in 2020, the Detroit Tigers’ Spencer Torkelson.
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- Kevin Deutsch is an award-winning crime journalist and author. A graduate of Florida International University, Kevin has worked on staff at The Miami Herald, New York Daily News, and The Palm Beach Post.
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