SUFFOLK, Va. (WAVY)- It’s another day spent at the ball park for the Grady family of Suffolk. Mother Tracy gets 10-year-old Ben and 12-year-old Clay to the field where at times it seems life revolves around the game of baseball. “We’re big baseball people. My oldest son plays. My 12-year-old plays and I have a daughter who is 16 who was raised at the ballpark,” said mother Tracy.
Last month, father David was looking for something fun to do with the boys so he decided to sign them up at the local Pitch, Hit and Run contest at Creekside Recreation Center. Both boys won their age group and advanced to compete at Harbor Park.
This time around only Clay advanced and his scores were good enough to get invited to compete at Nationals Park where Clay got to mingle with big league stars, “I saw the Nationals and Rangers play and I saw Bryce Harper and Jayson Werth. I want to be like them one day,” said Clay.
Calm and cool, Clay turned in a nearly flawless performance. “I hit the target 5 times out of 6. I ran an 8.28 and hit the ball 127 feet,” said Clay.
Final scores were compared across the country and Clay’s scores were good enough to advance to the national finals at next week’s Major League Baseball All-Star game in Minneapolis, Minnesota. “We are very proud of Clay, but its a real long shot and the odds are against you,” said David Grady.
Over 600,000 boys and girls tried out this season for Major League Baseball’s Pitch, Hit and Run contest. Only 24 players advance to the finals at the All-Star Game.
Major League Baseball will cover travel expenses for Clay and one other person, but the Grady’s will share this experience as a family. “When Clay won, we were like, we got to go! So we are loading up the car and driving 1300 miles to Minnesota to be there for the whole event,” said Tracy.
Clay is a rising 5th grader at Nansemond Suffolk Academy and despite what happens in the contest, Clay is already a big winner. He will take the field to shag fly balls during the home run derby contest, meet all-stars and experience the chance of a lifetime. “It’s just a really good feeling,” says Clay.