Eastern Shore Little League player invited to national MLB event

(Delmarva Now) -- Daylen Van Linton began his day like any other on Monday.

The 8-year-old, despite being on summer break, was up early practicing his passion and love – baseball.

He's been one of the most successful and consistent baseball players on the Eastern Shore of Virginia since he starting playing the sport at age 3

On June 26, Linton put aside his bat and mitt and got in the car with his family to attend an All-Star game across the bay.

Catching up on the latest stats and scores, Linton’s mother, Lynier pulled up the MLB Network app when news broke that her son would be heading to Miami as a finalist in the Scott’s MLB Pitch, Hit and Run Competition, held during the MLB All-Star week.

“I told him and he had this smirk on his face,” Lynier said. “We were going crazy and everyone was super excited. We saw the video on the Pitch, Hit and Run’s Facebook page, and it brought tears to my eyes.”

Linton was one of 24 players invited to the event, while more than 625,000 athletes across the nation participated in qualifying competitions.

As a member of Shore Little League in Nassawadox, Virginia, Linton was used primarily as a shortstop and pitcher. At the plate, he finished the season with a .501 batting average, while striking out 43 batters in 16 innings on the mound.

“One of the babysitters started with him when he was 2 years old, and he always loved throwing the ball,” Lynier said. “We started him in tee-ball and he really has been driven ever since he started. He would stay out all day long, trying to figure out how to get the ball to go the furthest. He went out and did it until he could figure out how to make it go the way he wanted.”

Linton was required to compete in several events to advance, including the Shore Little League’s Pitch, Hit and Run competition where he swept all three categories including Pitch Champion, Hit Champion and Run Champion. Linton was named the overall champion and went on to the Sectional Competition at Harbor Park in Norfolk, the home of the Norfolk Tides

Much like he had at the local level, Linton dominated the competition and placed first in sectionals. He was one of the top three players in Virginia and Washington D.C. and was then asked to attend the Washington Nationals Team Championship on June 11.

Once again, Linton claimed the top prize.

“It was pretty easy to go to the Tides, but D.C. was a lot harder,” Linton said.

The competitions consisted of pitching six balls at a targeted strike zone, hitting a ball off a tee for distance and running from second base to home plate faster than any other player.

Following his win, he was recognized in front of a huge crowd at the regular season game between Washington and the Texas Rangers.

“It’s amazing. We’ve always known he was really good, and he’s always put his best foot forward,” Lynier said. “When you see him accomplish each skill and be the best, it’s just amazing to watch. We always have people tell us he’s going to be famous.”

Now with a trip to Miami already booked, Linton will compete against other top players in his age group for the National Championship. Along with continuing to compete in pitching, hitting and running, Linton will also have a chance to interact with major-leaguers as he snags fly ball during the MLB’s All-star Baseball and Celebrity Home Run Derby.

He hopes to meet his favorite ballplayer, Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper, who Linton said he has loved as long as he can remember.

As Linton takes the next steps in his young career, his mother admitted she isn’t surprised by the amount of success her son has already seen and hopes he can bring home one more first-place award.

“He’s put a lot of dedication into this, and he just doesn’t stop,” Lynier said. “It’s truly unbelievable.”

Delmarva Now


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