Adley Rutschman wins regional pitch, hit and run competition at Safeco Field.

Adley Rutschman admitted to being a little nervous when he walked the foul line at Safeco Field on Father's Day. That's because the 8-year-old Sherwood boy knew that moments later thousands of Seattle Mariners fans would be watching him in the 2006 Pepsi Pitch, Hit and Run competition.

For Rutschman, the day at the 19.59-acre outdoor baseball park was the culmination of hard work, pushing him to the top of his game as he placed first for the region in the 7- and 8-year-old division during the Seattle Mariners Team Championship.

'I just wanted to do my best ever,' said Rutschman, a student at St. Paul's Lutheran School.

In the end, he edged out youngsters in his age group from Oregon, Alaska, Washington, Idaho and Montana.

'It was a blast,' said Rutschman. 'It was a good experience and the funnest part was being there with my family.'

What brought him to Seattle were top scores earned at sectional competition held earlier in Oregon City.

'He was excited,' said Randy Rutschman, Adley's father and one of his coaches on the Sherwood Knights baseball team. 'We were just having a good time.'

Randy, who also is an assistant baseball coach at George Fox University, said although his son threw pretty hard at the event, it wasn't quite as fast as the youth's top throwing speed, which runs between 45 and 50 mph.

He did, however, hit a designated target twice during the pitching part of the competition.

Adley did even better hitting and running the bases.

'Batting, I hit farther than I ever had,' said Adley. 'The best, best part of baseball for me is hitting.'

That meant slugging the ball around 140 feet and making it from second to home in roughly nine seconds.

In addition to having fun competing in the day's activities, Adley said he also got to meet some 'really nice kids.'

For the future, he hopes to continue excelling in baseball.

'I hope to play baseball all my life because I just don't want ... a season where I don't play baseball,' he said.

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