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Local middle school softball player heading to MLB all-star game

On July 10 at 5 a.m., Boones Creek Middle School softball player Kristen Hall will step on a plane bound for Phoenix, Az., on the final leg of an incredible achievement for the 12-year-old.
Hall placed in the top three nationally in the softball pitch, hit, and run contest, which earned her an all-expense ticket to the 2011 Major League Baseball All-Star Game.
Hall got involved in the competition in 2010 after seeing a poster for the contest at Winged Deer Park in Johnson City.
Hall decided to give it a try.
The pitch, hit and run contest, sponsored locally by the Johnson City Parks and Rec Department, is much like a punt, pass and kick competition in football.
It takes three fundamental areas of baseball or softball and adds an emphasis on accuracy. The competition includes six throws at a small target, hitting off a tee to measure distance and accuracy, and a timed running of the bases.
The event is broken down into age categories. The approximate 600,000 participants nationwide are assigned to a MLB team, which accompanies certain regions around the country. Age groups are broken down in two year increments, 7-8, 9-10, 11-12 and 13-14.
Hall, who plays softball for her middle school, as well as travel ball and Little League proved to be a natural at the competition in her first year.
After winning the local round in Johnson City, Hall earned a spot in the sectionals in Chattanooga. A sectional win propelled her to the Atlanta Braves’ Turner Field for the third leg of the competition.
Hall’s father, Rodney, believes nerves on the big stage and inexperience in the event factored against his daughter’s first attempt at making the top three nationally.
But, this time around, it was a different story.
“The first year I did the pitch, hit and run, I was very nervous to be in Atlanta,” Hall said. “But this year I had been there before, I trained harder and I had done more to build up for the moment.”
After competing in Atlanta on May 28, the waiting game began for Hall and her family. Finally, last week, the finalists were set to be announced through the MLB Network.
Gathered with her family at a local restaurant in preparation for the big moment, Hall wouldn’t be disappointed as her name flashed across the screen.
“I was so excited to see my name,” she said. “I started crying, my family was cheering, and people in the restaurant were looking at us like we were crazy.”
Hall calls the moment funny, embarrassing and nerve racking all at the same time, but one she won’t soon forget.
The all-expenses-paid trip covers Hall and her father, but her mother doesn’t plan to miss any of it and will be going along, too.
Hall will meet current and former players taking part in the All-Star festivities. She will also sit in on batting practice, the homerun derby and the All-Star game.
The final leg of the Pitch, Hit and Run competition will take place on July 11, at 2 p.m. preceding the homerun derby. Hall will compete against the other finalists in her category.
“I am very proud. She’s a good kid, has a good attitude and a very strong work ethic,” said Rodney Hall of his daughter. “Even on her off days she practices at least two hours a day. She’s a straight-A student and the Lord has blessed her with some softball playing ability.”
Hall who has been playing softball since she was 6 years old ,enjoys the sport almost more than anything else and believes it will always remain an important aspect of her life.
“I think I’ll play softball my entire life. I love the sport,” she said. “I am really excited to play for (Daniel Boone High School) and I hope as a freshman coming in I can make varsity, then scholarship and play for (the University of Tennessee). I am really excited where this sport could take me.”