DETROIT -- The game of baseball is rooted in the past but always reaching for the future.
Kids hoping to be that future took the field at Comerica Park on Saturday for the annual Pitch, Hit & Run event, where kids between the ages of 7 and 14 competed to earn eligibility to the national finals in Phoenix during All-Star weekend.
The competition began with more than 650,000 participants across the country. After going through local and other sectional competitions, 24 kids -- three boys and three girls in four age groups -- reached the final in each of the 30 Major League team markets.
"The purpose of Pitch, Hit & Run is to give kids an opportunity, free of cost, to pick up a bat and ball and go out and try our national pastime," said PHR coordinator Matt Hilley. "It's a chance for kids to practice three fundamental skills of the game, but also to get the opportunity they might otherwise not have to go to a Major League ballpark, and for a select few, to go all the way to the All-Star Game."
Tyler Brooks, from Canton, Mich., won the 13-14-year-old boys division in Michigan for the second time in three years.
"My parents were on the [Greater Canton Youth Baseball Softball Association] website, so they just found this and we decided to do it," Brooks said.
As a part of the competition, participants threw six pitches at a strike zone, hit three balls off a tee and ran from second base to home plate to earn scores. The annual Pitch, Hit & Run event began with all 30 teams in 1997.
Brooks, whose favorite Tigers player is Miguel Cabrera, said his favorite event was pitching, because he was good at it.
Alexa Pastoria, from Fair Haven, Mich., won the 13-14-year-old girls division. She was the only girl to pitch softball-style.
"My favorite event was pitching, because I've been pitching for three years now and I'm getting better and better, and I just wanted to prove it," Pastoria said.
The top three overall scores for each age group across the country will earn an all-expenses-paid trip to Phoenix during All-Star weekend. The finalists will be announced on MLB Tonight on Monday on MLB Network.
The winners of Saturday's event at Comerica Park came back for the Tigers' matchup against the D-backs and were recognized prior to the game.
"It was awesome," Pastoria said. "I had a great time."
Chris Vannini is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.