Briarwood student ‘swinging for the fences’ to win skills competition

6-11 Hit Pitch Run—WEB

Holden Patterson, left, is headed to Turner Field in Atlanta to participate in the sectional round of Major League Baseball’s Pitch, Hit and Run competition on June . He entered the skills competition at the suggestion of his hitting instructor, former Boston Red Sox hitting coach Ron Jackson, right. (Contributed)

By DREW GRANTHUM/Sports Writer

NORTH SHELBY — While its common knowledge that most great baseball players are apt in the hitting, defense and base running categories, Holden Patterson hopes to show his abilities on a grand stage.

The Briarwood rising fifth grader is headed to Turner Field in Atlanta to participate in the sectional round of Major League Baseball’s Pitch, Hit and Run competition on June

The Pitch, Hit and Field is the official youth skills competition of the MLB, and gives boys and girls ages 7-14 the chance to show their abilities pitching for accuracy, hitting for distance and accuracy and timeliness of base running.

Holden’s father Eric said Holden got started in the competition on a whim from hitting instructor and former Boston Red Sox coach Ron Jackson.

“(Coach Jackson) saw him hit and said ‘You need to come to this, you’ve got a good chance to win,’” he said.

Holden, a catcher by trade for his Braves team at Heardmont Park, took home the local tournament as well as the sectional tournament, held in Chattanooga, Tenn. Each time, Holden finished in the top three, one of the requirements to advance.

When it came to sectionals, one of the requirements to move on to Turner Field was to finish in the top three among the winners from each location in the geographic market of the respective MLB team. Holden’s score was strong enough, clinching him a spot at Turner Field on June 14.

Holden said he was excited to have the opportunity to advance.

“It’s just awesome,” he said. “It feels great.”

If Holden does well enough at the Turner Field competition, he will advance to national finals round, held during the MLB All-Star game at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minn. on July 15.

Holden said he hoped he could have a strong enough showing in the MLB Team championship to make it to Minneapolis.

“That would be the most awesome thing in the world,” he said. “It’d be spectacular. My dad researched, 11 people who (have) won the competition went on to play in the majors.”