Last year at this time, some of my colleagues in the newsroom were laughing at me.
That’s because I was jealous of Lita Vorseth and Ryan Novis, two young baseball players from the East Valley who had the opportunity to showcase their playing skills on Chase Field during Major League Baseball’s Annual Pitch, Hit and Run competition as part of the festivities leading up to the All-Star Game at Chase Field in Phoenix.
Now this year, things are a little more quiet in the newsroom because my colleagues know I am somewhat jealous again.
What baseball fan wouldn’t be?
Lita is returning to the Pitch, Hit and Run event, this year in Kansas City, and will get to play on Kauffman Field where the Royals play as well as this year’s All Stars.
Although I’d like to be in her baseball shoes (more so about 30 years ago), I also am happy for Lita, who is the only girl known to compete in the event twice.
What’s the adage? Anything boys can do, girls can do better?
Lita, 8, soon to be a fourth-grader at Mesa’s Booker T. Washington Elementary School, is getting a chance to prove it.
At 2:15 p.m. on Monday (central time), the day before the 84th Annual All-Star Game is played at Kauffman Field in Kansas City, Lita will be among three girls in her age group and 24 kids overall participating in the Pitch, Hit and Run event that will take place before the superstars of the game take batting practice. Lita, a catcher for the Mesa Little League’s District 7 White Sox team in the 9-10-11-year-old division, is the only player from Arizona participating in this year’s Pitch, Hit and Run event and will represent the Arizona Diamondbacks.
“It’s going to be a really fun experience,” she said.
Lita, the daughter of John and Fuji Vorseth, was among the cream of the crop after local competitions were held throughout the spring and concluded at Chase Field last month when she qualified for an all-expense paid trip to Kansas City that includes two tickets to the game. It also will be her first plane trip.
Cadashia Collins of Chattanooga, Tenn. and Samantha Sherer of Miramar Beach, Fla., are the only two girls competing in the 7-8-year-old girls division, representing the Atlanta Braves and Tampa Bay Rays, respectively.
“It’s really good,” Lita said of her accomplishment. “I’m just trying to get first place. I know what to do and how to do it. Baseball is my favorite sport. I love it when I’m pitching or catching.”
Nearly 700,000 youth participated in more than 4,000 Pitch, Hit and Run competitions sponsored by Aquafina across the United States before 24 were selected as finalists through a scoring system, according to information from Major League Baseball.
To get ready for the event, Lita said she has been throwing baseballs at a target and taking batting practice a few times each week.
And baseball isn’t the only sport Lita participates in; she also plays basketball and soccer, swims and recently gave up tae-kwon-do to cut down on her busy schedule.
John Vorseth said that after Lita finished second in Pitch, Hit and Run last year, she said she was going to compete in it again.
“I told her she just couldn’t say that, because it was hard to do,” said John Vorseth, who will be accompanying his daughter to Kansas City. “I told her that she’d have to get lucky.”
And so far, she has been.
During last year’s All-Star Game festivities, the event’s participants were able to mingle in the dugout with the Big League players, and Lita met Detroit Tigers player Prince Fielder and D-Backs outfielder Justin Upton.
“It was a pretty exciting moment,” she said.
But Lita hopes to rise to star status herself.
Kansas City, here she comes.
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