Mya Bartlett is spending this week gearing up for her second appearance at the MLB Home Run Derby. After that, she’ll have to start thinking about fifth grade.
Bartlett, 10, will compete in the national finals of the MLB Pitch, Hit & Run competition Monday at Marlins Park in Miami before shagging balls for baseball’s top sluggers as they fight over the home run crown. The Las Vegas resident finished second the last time she competed at the 2015 All-Star Game in Cincinnati, but this year she’s the top seed in the 9-10 softball division.
“I’m really excited that I get to experience the whole thing again,” said Bartlett, who plays pitcher, shortstop and third base for Northwest Girls Softball. “I don’t even know how to explain it. I had so much fun last time. I just keep thinking about it every day, and I bet I’m going to have even more fun this time.”
To take home the crown, Bartlett must pitch accurately at a strike zone, smash balls as far as she can off a tee to center field and run as fast as she can from second base to home plate. When the competition is over, she’ll head to the outfield to shag balls during the Home Run Derby from players such as Dodgers rookie Cody Bellinger, who plays for her favorite team.
The Home Run Derby was her favorite part of the All-Star experience in 2015, when she shagged balls from Todd Frazier, Albert Pujols and Joc Pederson.
“We haven’t stopped thinking about that experience in the last two years,” said her father, Brandon Bartlett. “And here we are, ready to experience it again. It’s the coolest vacation we’ve ever been on.”
Brandon Bartlett found out about the Pitch, Hit & Run competition by picking up a flyer at Northwest Girls Softball. He took 6-year-old Mya to a competition, only to learn upon arrival that she was a year too young to take part.
“We walked away a little disappointed,” Brandon Bartlett said. “For the whole year, she talked about how she was going to do it next year because she loves to compete. She loves to run, she loves to hit and throw. She knew it was right up her alley.”
When Mya Bartlett was old enough to compete, it took her two years to advance to her first national finals. After winning a local and sectional competition in the 7-8 division in 2015, she advanced to the team championship round at Petco Park. She won that event to be considered the top player in the San Diego Padres’ area, and by virtue of her being ranked in the top 3 of the 30 team champions in her age group, she was invited to Cincinnati.
She followed the same path to reach the All-Star Game a second time, and she has no plans to stop until she reaches the event’s age limit.
“I plan on doing it until I reach 14 and I can’t do it anymore,” she said.
A year after the 2016 Summer Olympics, some of the country’s best table tennis players will compete in Las Vegas.
The USA Table Tennis 2017 Supermicro National Championship “Final Table Celebration” will take place Friday at the Silverton, with two U.S. Olympians looking to defend their singles crowns in the event.
Kanak Jha, 17, leads the men’s field and is favored to win the singles champion’s check of $8,000. Lilly Zhang, 21, is the top seed in the women’s bracket and will be challenged by fellow 2016 U.S. Olympian Yue Wu.
The recreation notebook appears Wednesdays. Contact Ben Gotz at email@example.com. Follow@BenSGotz on Twitter.
Wednesday-Friday: Table Tennis Supermicro National Championship, Las Vegas
Friday: Three Degrees of Hell (7K, 7-mile run), Moapa
Saturday: Dash for Donors 5K, Las Vegas