It is that time of year! Spring is in the air and baseball and softball fields are buzzing with activity. Baseball has been a part of Turtle Wing Foundation’s culture from its beginning. Jack Hooper, who the foundation was founded in memory of, loved baseball! He played his first kid-pitch game just prior to his sudden passing in 2011. His dad, Chris, played college ball. His grandfather won the state championship in high school, pitched batting practice for the teams his father managed, and played into the minor leagues. Jack’s great grandfather played in the major leagues and then managed, coached and scouted for MLB teams. Baseball is part of their family legacy. The first event that helped start Turtle Wing was the Jack Hooper Day at the Ballpark and Homerun Derby. This year will be the 10th annual derby. Each year it has been a little different, mainly due to the impact of weather and most recently the COVID pandemic. This year Turtle Wing will be hosting an official MLB Jr. Home Run Derby. The competition is open to all boys and girls aged 14 and under and it is free to enter. All participants compete together in one of two age groups (12U or 14U). A participant's age is determined as of July 17, 2021. Therefore, if a participant's date of birth is on or after July 18, 2008, he/she will compete in the 12U age group. If a participant's date of birth is July 18, 2006-July 17, 2008, he/she will compete in the 14U age group. You may view an online listing of local competitions on MLB’s website, however if you are reading this then the Schulenburg contest is likely your closest opportunity. Interested participants should register online, as all participants must be pre-registered prior to participation in the event. The registration link is https://jrhrd2021.leagueapps.com/events/2015167. The derby itself will be held on Saturday, May 1 beginning at 11 AM (check-in at 10:30) at Wolters Park in Schulenburg (1103 Bohlmann St.). Local champions will advance to the nearest regional competition competing against one another in a standardized Home Run Derby format determined by Jr. Home Run Derby staff. Upon winning at the local competition, a Jr. Home Run Derby staff member will provide the winners with information on the next level of competition. The regional champion in each age group will receive a trip for two (participant and legal parent/guardian) to the World Series™ for the Jr. Home Run Derby Finals. Turtle Wing supports individuals and families primarily from Colorado, Fayette, and Lavaca counties with academic, social-emotional, behavioral and/or developmental needs. To learn more about Turtle Wing Foundation or the MLB Jr. Home Run Derby please visit www.turtlewingfoundation.org, follow them on Facebook or call the office at 979-505-5090.
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