Jake Taylor, a 12-year-old from St. Petersburg, won the Aquafina Pitch, Hit and Run competition for his age group, his parents said. The competition was held Monday along with the Home Run Derby in Anaheim, Calif., part of the Major League Baseball All-Star festivities.
Terry Taylor said in a telephone interview from California that his son competed with two others in the 11 to 12 age group Monday afternoon. But he didn't know his son had won until a few hours later when the announcement was made between the first and second rounds of the Home Run Derby.
"It was like a dream, to watch your son do well in something that he loves to do," Terry Taylor said.
At the time of the announcement, Taylor was on the phone with his wife, Stacey, who stayed home. When her husband started screaming that Jake won, she said, "I just was so proud of him, I knew he could do it."
Jake is quiet and didn't show a lot of emotion after winning, except to smile, his father said. But he enjoyed the competition and meeting several big-league ballplayers including the New York Yankees' Alex Rodriguez, who gave Jake a high-five.
Terry Taylor, a sergeant with the Gulfport Police Department, does not plan to keep the news to himself. He said he told Jake he planned to show off the trophy he received to his fellow officers.
Stacey Taylor said Jake hit a baseball off a tee nearly 300 feet, threw four out of six pitches into the strike zone, and sprinted from second base to home plate in 7.67 seconds.