first_img BY DAN NEWMAN Sports Editor In 1923,Yankee Stadiumopened for business, and since then plenty of epic events have taken place, including World Series games, boxing matches, football games, and even a visit by Pope John Paul II. Above: Eight-year-old Tyler Ras of Middletown at Yankee Stadium while at a qualifying round of the Major League Baseball Pitch, Hit & Run Team Championship competition. Left: Ras in action as a member of the Middletown Warriors travel baseball team. Ras is one of a handful that will participate in next week’s National Finals, to be held during Major League Baseball’s All-Star Weekend festivities. While many of the aforementioned events were of great significance, 8-year-old Tyler Ras of Middletown is trying to make some history of his own, since he is one of the national finalists in the Major Baseball Pitch, Hit & Run Team Championship competition. Ras will compete in the finals on July 14-15 at the hallowed stadium where Ruth, DiMaggio and Gehrig, among others, built their legacies. For Ras, this is not only an opportunity to compete against others his age, but to also potentially rub elbows with some of the game’s current legends. PHOTOS COURTESY OF GLENN RAS “A-Rod [Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez] is my favorite player,” Ras said. “I hope I get to meet him.” Tyler’s father, Glenn, said that his son showed a huge desire at an early age to get involved in the sport. “He would hit baseballs off a tee younger than a lot of kids his age did,” Glenn recounted. “His coaches were very impressed with his skill level and he just kept moving up the ranks as the years went on. I can’t say that I’m totally surprised with all that is going on, but at the same time, it is pretty amazing that we all get to be a part of All-Star weekend.” Tyler got involved in the event by initially going to a local competition in Atlantic Highlands, followed by a sectional round in Lebanon (Hunterdon County). Ras did well enough at the local and regional levels to get an invite to the Bronx on June 22 to compete against regional qualifiers. Over 54,000 fans watched the home team win 4-1 over the lowly Cincinnati Reds on that day. As for Tyler, he also gave the people something to cheer about as he threw four out of six pitches in the strike zone and hit a pitch out to left field en route to putting on a stellar performance. Now, it was just a matter of waiting to see if his score placed him in the top three out of all of the 30 competitions that were being held nationwide, with those three being invited to Yankee Stadium for the National Championship. Whereas most of us would be walking on pins and needles, hoping that we’d get to go to Yankee Stadium as part of the All- Star festivities, Tyler was more than relaxed. And on the day not too long ago when he got the invite, it was just another day in Tyler’s world. “First, the people from Aquafina [the event sponsor] spoke to him, and I really didn’t know if they told him that he made it or not,” Tyler’s mother, Corinne, said. “By the time I was off the phone with them, Tyler was right back to playing around like he usually does. It was really amazing to think that he just did something so huge, yet it didn’t really faze him.” Glenn was also a bit confused as to his son’s blasé attitude toward everything. “I don’t think he fully comprehends this whole thing,” Glenn said. “The history of the stadium is just so incredible, and my wife and I are trying to let him understand what an opportunity this really is for him. To be able to participate in a baseball event in the greatest stadium in the world is really special for him, and we just hope he can realize this, if not now, then maybe years from now.” Another bonus of being in the event is that he will be in the outfield during the State Farm Home Run Derby competition, to be held on Monday night. “It’s going to be pretty cool, as a parent, to watch my son catching fly balls off the bats of some of the best hitters in the game,” Glenn said. “I think it is one part of the event that he will be able to appreciate.” As for Tyler, he is looking forward to next week and having an opportunity to go back to the Bronx and soak it all in. “I just want to do well and have fun, and maybe I can meet a few of the players before the All-Star Game,” Tyler said. Eight-year-old qualifies for national finals in baseball competition last_img

Local resident looking to pitch, hit and run his way to big win

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