Grady competes on All-Star stagePublished 9:44pm Monday, July 14, 2014
Clay Grady of Suffolk began an experience this weekend that few 10-year-olds or baseball fans of any age could ever relate to, and his family was pleased to be along for the ride.
He was a featured part of Major League Baseball’s All-Star Week in Minneapolis, Minn. as he competed in the National Finals of the 2014 MLB Pitch, Hit and Run program, the official youth skills competition of MLB designed to get youth involved in baseball.
Pitted against two other finalists in the boys’ 9- and 10-year-old division, Clay showed strength in the hitting and running portions of the competition, but did not end up taking first.
“The two kids that he was competing against are top in the nation,” Clay’s father, David Grady said.
To reach the finals, the trio had to advance through three levels of the Pitch, Hit and Run program. Local and sectional events were held throughout the country. This spring, Clay stood out locally in a Suffolk-based event and moved through sectionals at Harbor Park in Norfolk.
Each MLB team hosted the team championship level, and Clay went to the park of the team nearest Suffolk, the Washington Nationals, where he put up stellar marks.
On Monday, David Grady said Clay “didn’t do as well as he did up in Washington, but he was probably a little nervous.”
The elder Grady estimated there were a couple thousand spectators on hand to watch Clay and 23 other finalists across the different age and gender divisions compete on Target Field.
“And there were some MLB players down there, and some of the players were coming out and watching some of it,” David Grady said.
Along the first base side, he said the MLB Network was filming the proceedings, and Fox Sports was present along the third base side.
“There’s a lot to take in for a 10-year-old, a lot to take in for an adult,” David Grady said.
Clay was unavailable for comment early Monday evening because he and the finalists moved quickly into other activities that were perks of having made it to the PHR National Finals.
At the conclusion of the competition, MLB all-stars took the field, and the finalists were able to share it with them briefly.
Clay’s family was excited to see him compete and were looking forward to seeing him chase down balls during Monday evening’s nationally-televised Home Run Derby.
David Grady said he was “extremely proud of Clay, and the whole family’s having a great experience because of this.”
“It’s been amazing,” Clay’s mother, Tracy Grady said. “Just to see your 10-year-old out on the same field as some of the best players in baseball is pretty cool, and he’s having a ton of fun, which is really neat.”
Recently graduated Nansemond-Suffolk Academy all-state baseball standout Jake Grady said it was both surreal and remarkable to see his little brother out on Target Field, while Clay’s sister, Ginna Grady, an NSA rising senior, said, “It’s really cool.”