Struthers’ Pezzone second in Minneapolis

By curtis pulliam

Nicolina Marianne Pezzone finished second in the national finals of Major League Baseball’s Pitch, Hit & Run contest on Monday night in Minneapolis.

“She performed tremendously at a national level,” said Pezzone’s father Lindy. “She is a solid performer with no fear no matter the stakes.”

In the pitching event, Nicolina hit five of the six targets, like she had done in the other levels of the contest. One of her competitors, Olivia King, also hit five of the six targets.

“Under the pressure, (she was the last girl to go) she was able to match the five (targets),” Lindy said.

While the contestants were performing the different drills, the public address announcer introduced them and mentioned some of their accomplishments.

“It was reall nice how they did it,” Lindy said. “They got the spotlight, for every pitch the guy was talking about them.”

All three girls were about equal in their times for the running portion.

The difference came in the hitting part of the contest.

“The two girls in front of her really launched it off the pad,” Lindy said. “[Nicolina] was hitting line drives, but not enough air to get the distance.”

King was the winner in Pezzone’s 9-10 girls division.

Although she didn’t come out on top, Pezzone really had a great time being a part of the finals.

“Pitching (was the best part),” Pezzone said.

Pezzone was respresenting the Cleveland Indians in the national event. After finshing first in the three previous levels, Pezzone earned the top spot at Progressive Field on June 21.

In total, nearly 625,000 kids that competed all over the country. Along with competeing in the finals, Nicolina and Lindy have gotten to enjoy all the All-Star festivties taking place in the Twin Cities.

Nicolina was in the outfield of Target Field for the Home Run Derby.

“I didn’t catch any but I got two of them,” Nicolina said. “It was really cool.”

In addition to roaming the outfield, Nicolina also got to go to All-Star Fanfest and particapate in many different activities.

“She got to do drills with Dave Winfield,” Lindy said. “She got to meet Rollie Fingers and Andre Dawson, all Hall of Famers.”

Nicolina also was excited for another stop in Minneapolis, where she checked out the giant Mall of America and the American Girl Doll store.

“I finally got my American Girl doll,” she said.

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