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By Nick Schrager
Ever since he could hold a bat, Travis Wiser, 12, of Lebanon has been playing baseball. In fact, he has already managed to play on a professional field.
Recently, he competed on the Great American Ball Park field in Cincinnati while participating in the Major League Baseball (MLB) Pitch, Hit and Run program. The program, which operates on all 30 MLB fields across the country, lets kids test their abilities and compete in the core skills of the game. In order to make it there, he had to win competitions in Campbellsville and Bowling Green.
“It was something we just happened to run over and find,” Wiser said. “I ended up going to Campbellsville, competed and won and had a great time doing it.”
The local competitions, which decide who goes on to the stadiums, are no joke. According to spokesperson Abby Lane, more than 600,000 kids showed up across the country for their chance at the big league this year. Of that number, only 720 made the cut and Wiser was one of them.
After making it to the regional section in Cincinnati, Wiser competed with kids from Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana. According to him, that’s when it became even more difficult because it was on a big field. But he didn’t let that stop him. He won first place in his age and gender division. The win not only gave him bragging rights and put him on the giant screen at the park, it also put him against the winners of the 29 other parks for a chance to play on Citi Field in New York.
“That would be amazing,” Wiser said. “My goal was to win in Cincinnati, but anything after that is extra.”
Wiser’s dad, Daniel, said if he made it to New York, it doesn’t matter if he wins or loses, and according to his mother, Brandy, her son has worked extra diligently to get to where he is.
“When other kids are taking off in the winter, he is still practicing indoors,” she wrote in an email.
The announcement of who will be going to play in the finals will be broadcast live on the MLB Tonight Show on the MLB network on June 30. Until then though, the Wisers are left counting the days.