The Skills Competition, generously sponsored by Nationwide Insurance, has always been an exciting highlight of the Babe Ruth League World Series. Usually held before the tournament begins, the World Series Skills Competition is conducted to demonstrate a range of skills with such activities as a Home Run Derby, Golden Spikes Competition (base running), Bean Bob Competition (throwing accuracy), and several other events. And the Babe Ruth League World Series Skills competition is just as exciting as Major League Baseball’s Home Run Derby, basketball’s Slam-Dunk Contest and Football’s 40-Yard Dash.
A great deal of fun was had by all during the Nationwide Skills Competition conducted by several 2016 Babe Ruth League World Series hosts.
Even the heat couldn’t stop the skills competition at the 13-Year-Old World Series in Ottumwa, Iowa. Temperatures climbed to 90 degrees, and the heat index approached 100, but conditions did little to dampen the excitement of the teams as they competed in the skills competition. Family and fans also braved the heat to watch the players compete in a series of events based on baseball fundamentals.
First up was the Turn-Two contest, where each team’s infield tried to complete a series of double plays in the shortest time possible. The Spokane, Washington team finished with the best time of 34.31 seconds.
Next in the Bean Babe contest, one pitcher from each team had ten pitches (taken from in front of the mound), trying to hit a target behind the plate. Different spots on the target were worth one, two or three points, corresponding with the strike zone. Waterford, Connecticut’s Connor Podeszwa won the contest by scoring 23 points.
In the team base running competition, each squad chose its best runners, who took turns circling the bases. Teams could decide how many runners to use; some used as few as two, while other teams used as many as six runners. The winner was based on the average time for all of each team’s runners, and Eau Claire, Wisconsin claimed the top spot with an average time of 15.64 seconds.
The last and most prominent of the skills contest was the Home Run Derby, as each team sent their top sluggers to the plate. Drives hit more than halfway through the outfield on the fly were worth a point, shots to the warning track three points, and a bomb over the wall for a homer worth five points. Spokane had already won the first skills competition, and they claimed the last one as well, as David Dawson outslugged Alex Urlaug of West Fargo, North Dakota to become the home run king of the Babe Ruth 13-Year-Old World Series.
Babe Ruth League, Inc. sincerely thanks Nationwide for sponsoring this special World Series event.