SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

June 10, 2014

Beverly's 10-year-old Stilwell shines at Fenway Park

By Gianna Addario
Staff Writer

---- — Many local baseball and softball players dream about what it would be like to take the field at Boston’s historic Fenway Park.

For 10-year-old Emily Stilwell of Beverly, that dream became a reality when she made it to the official youth skills competition of Major League Baseball Pitch, Hit & Run, at Fenway Park last Saturday.

Boys and girls ages 7-14 from around the country were given the opportunity to showcase their pitching, hitting and running abilities during the competition at Fenway. Stilwell, a fourth grader at Ayers Elementary School in Beverly, competed against two other girls in her age group and became the overall champion for New England.

Stilwell was the champion for the 9- and 10-year-old girls bracket. She was given a plaque and her name was announced in a Red Sox pregame ceremony, which her parents and sister attended with her.

“My time at Fenway Park was incredible,” said Stilwell. “I honestly never thought I would make it as far as I did. I ran the Fenway Park bases. Those are the bases David Ortiz and all of the Red Sox players run on. I hit balls to the outfield and threw softballs in the actual park, the park I see on television.

“I will never, ever forget all of the memories of being at Fenway Park.”

The best three overall scores from across the 30 competitions (held by the other 29 MLB teams in their ballparks) will qualify for a trip to the Major League Baseball All-Star Game in Minneapolis July 15. Finalists will participate in festivities upon arrival — including a PHR Welcome Reception, MLB Brunch and All-Star FanFest.

If Stilwell makes it to the finals, she’ll have a chance to compete on the field prior the annual MLB Home Run Derby the night before the All-Star Game.

Stillwell’s interest in softball began from watching her older sister, Natalie (now 13 years old), play.

Stilwell pitches and also plays third base and shortstop locally in the Beverly Girls Softball League for the Mets (10U). She also plays on the 10U Junior Olympic travel softball team for the New England Storm, where she found out about the competition from her coach Lashadric Grady.

“Emily is a naturally talented athlete, but works very hard and practices several times a week on pitching and hitting,” noted her father John Stilwell.

She and her sister both attended the MLB local Pitch, Hit & Run Competitions in Billerica in late April and advanced to the sectional round in Somerville last month.