Chandler Smethers won Major League Baseball’s Pitch, Hit & Run Colorado Rockies Team Championship at Coors Field in Denver on June 15.
He finished 16th overall in the nationwide competition, narrowly missing an opportunity to advance to the national finals in Cleveland, Ohio by just 100 points.
Smethers said the win was “unexpected.”
Smethers, a student at BVHS and a longtime competitor in baseball skills challenges, competed against other 13/14-year-old sectional winners from the Colorado Rockies multi-state region, including South Dakota, Utah, Wyoming, Montana and Nebraska.
Smethers said he started entering in youth skills challenges in about 2010. Previously, Smethers had competed in challenges hosted by the Rockies and Colorado Parks and Wildlife that were open to kids as old as 13.
This year was his first national event, and Smethers said the talent he was playing against was higher than ever.
This is his fourth statewide victory in the competitions.
Competitors were scored on pitching accuracy to a designated strike zone target, hitting for distance and accuracy and base running time.
Chandler won all three events in his age group and scored a total of 1,198 points.
“It was definitely a hard road to get there,” he said.
He had a rough start, he said, scoring less than he had expected in the hitting competition.
“What really turned it around was knowing that there were two more things to score on,” he said. “It was mostly just self-confidence.”
Champions were treated to tickets to the Rockies vs. Padres game and were recognized on the field during the pre-game ceremony. Chandler met a few Rockies players and their mascot Dinger.
Chandler’s score of 1198 was compared against all other 30 MLB team champions.
The age cutoff for the Pitch, Hit & Run is 15, Smethers’ age this month. While he says he’s looking for events that might be open to kids 15 and up, he won’t mind if he can’t find one.
“It’s been fun,” he said of his 9-year run of skills competitions.
He’s looking toward playing in a number of sports at BVHS, including golf, basketball and track.
Track has the same season as baseball, but he’s looking forward to trying out for the baseball Demons in his junior year, he said.