Ten-year-old Derek Daly admitted to feeling “really, really nervous” during his debut at Phoenix’s Chase Field, before he set the butterflies aside and threw six pitches.
After five heated strikes — and a barrage of batting and base-running — the Oro Valley youngster won a chance to appear at the Aquafina Major League Baseball Pitch Hit and Run national championships during All-Star Weekend.
“I think it’s really awesome. It was really cool because we got to go in the dugout and everything,” Daly said.
Event officials will compare winning scores from each age bracket of the 30 MLB markets to determine whether Daly will compete for the title at Yankee Stadium on July 13-15.
Two other local ballplayers joined the Coronado White Sox Little League pitcher on the Diamondbacks’ JumboTron, each competing against four others from Arizona and New Mexico at the team championship level.
Oro Valley’s Preston Flack took third in the 7-to-8 age group, while Drew Davis placed fourth in the 13-to-14 bracket.
Tucson’s Alex Martinez placed second in the 11-to-12 slot.