DENVER, Colo. – Most 10-year-olds might get star struck or nervous at the thought of competing at Coors Field, the home of Major League Baseball’s Colorado Rockies, but that was not the case for Torrington’s Colby Groene.
The Torrington Little Leaguer won the 2021 MLB Pitch, Hit and Run competition on Saturday, Sept. 25, beating out two other competitors from the Rockies region.
“It was fun. It’s mostly about having fun,” Groene said. “I like competing in a lot of baseball things. I’m thankful for that and I’m just happy I won it. I’ve always wanted to do that.”
Groene qualified for the competition through a local qualifier put on by the Torrington Little League.
The Hit, Pitch and Run competition measures the all-around player.
For the pitch portion of the event, Groene had six opportunities to hit a designated strike zone 45 feet away, while attempting three swings off a tee to see how far and how straight they go. In the run event, Groene was timed how fast he could run from second base to home plate.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Rockies only took the top three out of the entire seven state region, instead of the usual 25 players.
Groene was able to advance to the team championship round after 245 feet of hitting, 9.2 second run and throwing four out of five strikes.
In Denver, he hit 250 feet, threw three out of a possible five strikes and went from second to home in 10.2 seconds.
In honor of winning the event, Groene was pictured on the jumbotron at the Rockies game that night against the San Francisco Giants. It also happened to be the same night they honored Larry Walker for being inducted into the MLB Hall of Fame.
Unfortunately for Groene, not all winners from the team championships advance to the World Series round of the competition. On Wednesday, Sept. 28, MLB Pitch, Hit and Run announced who would be moving on to the final round, and Groene was not one of the ones selected.
Despite the news, it didn’t damper his spirits as he already has his eyes set on qualifying again next summer in hopes of reaching the final round in 2022.
“I was pretty bummed, but I’m just glad I got to go to Denver,” Groene said.