ALLENDALE — What does winning look like?
Running 90 feet in 4.6 seconds, batting four out of five balls 150 feet in the air, and throwing four out of five pitches on target — including two bull’s-eyes — did it for Taylor Holmes. The 9-year-old was the youngest ever to win the 9/10 softball division of the MLB Pitch Hit & Run national championships at Minute Maid Park in Houston between World Series games on Nov. 4.
The Brookside School fourth grader represented the Philadelphia Phillies with three other division winners at the finals. She said the major league park was “so cool compared to a regular softball field.”
“When I saw how many seats there were, I was like, wow, really?” Taylor said. “My parents and my brother Ben brought me good luck, cheering me on.”
Taylor’s mother, Johanna, played softball in high school and college. She said Taylor’s skill-building began as a way to pass the time during the isolation days of COVID.
“You can’t teach running; they’re either good at it or they’re not,” Johanna said. “But she caught on to the pitching. I thought she was pretty good. And my husband, Brian, and I built a batting cage for her in the backyard. We had plenty of time and space to practice.”
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Of the three skills tested, Taylor said, pitching was the one she worked on the most in anticipation of the event.
“It’s where you earn the most points,” said Taylor, who plays soccer as well as softball at the rec, travel and club levels.
Taylor placed third in the 7/8 division finals last year at Truist Park in Atlanta. Still, there were enough differences this year to get her attention.
“I wasn’t expecting them to hold the scores to the end,” said Taylor, who won by 10 points. “Usually they add them up and give them to us after each event.”
Taylor will be honored at a Phillies game next spring.
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