Steven Petrilyak has played baseball since he was 4 years old. He has moved up the ranks at Largo Little League and is now a pitcher and shortstop for Largo's major all-star team.
Recently, Petrilyak put his baseball skills to the test when he signed up for Major League Baseball's Pitch, Hit and Run competition. He won the local Largo competition and finished in the top four in sectionals.
From there, Petrilyak competed at Tropicana Field on May 30 for the right to represent the Rays at the All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium. The top four winners in the north and south sections of the state competed in St. Petersburg. Petrilyak, 13, fell just short of his goal, finishing third in the 13-14 age group.
"He just turned 13 so he was actually a little younger than the other kids,'' said his mother, Susan Petrilyak. "He did very well against kids that were a little bigger than he was.''
Participants are judged in three categories. For pitching, they stand 45 feet from the plate and are given six pitches to throw strikes in a taped-off box. The most strikes mean the most points. For hitting, players hit off a tee and are awarded points for distance and accuracy. A white line is drawn from home plate to centerfield, and points are added for being close to the line. The run part is simple: run as fast as you can to first base.
Landon Gartman of Oldsmar also was third in the 9-10 age group.
Overall, there are 30 winners (one from each team), and the top four scores from those 30 go to New York City. It's not easy, but Susan Petrilyak said Steven will try again.
"He's going to give it one more shot,'' she said.
"Next year he'll be just as big as those kids, so you never know.''
The American Junior Golf Association held its Junior Classic on June 24-26 at Avila Golf and Country Club. Chase Marinell of Cape Coral won in a playoff in the boys division. He shot a three-round 216.
Locals who played well included Tampa's George Letson (219), Clearwater's Zach Sobel (219) and Tampa's Christopher Biuso (225). In the girls division, Victoria Kiser of Orlando won by four shots with 214. Belleair's Evan Jensen, who was tied for the lead after two rounds, shot 219 to finish fourth. Tampa's A.J. Newell shot 221, Seminole's Meghan Chapman 234 and Largo's Andrea Messer 239.
• The West Coast Women's Golf Association held a tournament on June 25 at East Lake Woodlands. Lisa Hartley of Clearwater Country Club was the Flight AA gross winner with 74. Kim Hollister of Innisbrook was the net winner with 74. Mary Ann Neary of East Lake Woodlands was the Flight A gross winner with 79. Kay Close of Eaglebrooke was the net winner with 81.
Hole-In-One: Tony Palukaitis aced the 135-yard, 11th hole at TPC of Tampa Bay with a 7-iron on June 26.
Katelyn Crawford, 15, of St. Petersburg has qualified for the American Quarterhorse Association's national/world horseback riding competition. Crawford, who trains out of Anvil Acres in Pinellas Park, will compete at the championships Aug. 1-9 in Oklahoma City. She qualified by finishing in the top four in her age group through at least 10 shows from Jan. 1-April 30.
C.T. Maxey rolled two 300 games in a two-week span in June at Seminole Lanes during the Thursday Summer mixed league. Maxey has a 224 average. And on June 19, Mike Emerich rolled his first 11 in a row while bowling a 297, also at Seminole Lanes.
Rodney Page can be reached at email@example.com or (727) 893-8810.