10-year-old Gilbert girl to compete in MLB’s Pitch, Hit and Run Finals
PHOENIX — A fifth grade softball player from Gilbert will be representing the Grand Canyon State in a national baseball and softball competition held during the World Series.
Diana Perez is the only one from Arizona to qualify for the Pitch, Hit and Run finals hosted by Major League Baseball. She will travel to Atlanta this weekend to attend Game 4 of the World Series and compete in the finals on Monday.
“It’s a really big thing, and not winning it would be a bit disappointing,” Perez told KTAR News 92.3 FM.
The 10-year-old will compete with other players in her age group from across the country. She’ll be tested on how accurately she can pitch, how far she can hit from a batting tee and how fast she can sprint.
Diana said she has been practicing a lot with the help of her coaches.
She has been playing baseball and softball since she was 6 years old. She currently plays locally for the Lady Devils.
Her dad, Ricardo Perez, couldn’t be more proud.
“She’s a very humble person, so she never tells the full story of how much work she puts in to try to get to this point,” he said.
Diana won the Pitch, Hit and Run competition for the Southwest region two years ago but her numbers were just shy of making it to the finals.
“I still remember the reaction I had when she didn’t make it, and the fear I had in telling her that she put in all that work and she didn’t get there,” Ricardo said.
“So for this year, for it to come true for her was just a dream come true for me because, again, she just worked so hard, 5-6 days a week, trying to improve herself.”
Like everyone else, Ricardo found out Diana made it to the finals on live television.
He was at work when her name was announced as a finalist and said he did everything he could to hold back the tears.
Diana said she got the news from her teacher at school.
“I was really excited,” she said. “My jaw kind of dropped a bit and I was kind of overwhelmed.”
Diana said although she’s nervous about Monday’s competition, she’s ready to do her best as she does at every game she competes in.