East Ridge softball: Trollen finds hidden talent
A quick decision unearthed a hidden talent for Woodbury resident Megan Trollen.
Trollen, who will be a freshman at East Ridge High School next fall, had the 10th best score in the nation -- out of roughly 700,000 competitors nationwide -- in Major League Baseball's Pitch, Hit and Run competition.
"It feels really good," said Trollen, who plays for the East Ridge Athletic Association 14U softball team. "I never thought I could do it. I wouldn't have been able to do it without the help of my dad. I'm really happy with how I finished."
Pitch, Hit and Run (PHR) participants try to accumulate the most points throughout the three events. The hitting event is calculated by distance and accuracy off of a tee, the pitching event is the number of times a contestant can hit a target in six attempts and the running portion is based purely on speed around the base paths.
"It's just having a combination of speed, hitting ability and accuracy throwing," said Jim Trollen, Megan's dad. "To succeed at the Pitch, Hit and Run you have to be good at all three or you won't move on. She worked hard and we prepared her for it. But, it's different than playing softball though."
Megan Trollen's younger brother Joe, 11, had competed in the Pitch, Hit and Run competition last year. With Joe wanting to do it again this year, Jim Trollen asked Megan if she'd like to give it a try too. She said yes - and it nearly ended up with the family traveling to Kansas City for the Major League Baseball All-Star Game.
In the 13- and 14-year-old age group, Trollen took first place in a local competition, then won a section competition at Midway Stadium, which qualified her for a three-state regional competition at Target Field on June 16. At the regional contest, Trollen again took first place - with 984 points - to put her in the running to compete in the national competition, which will be held at the MLB All-Star Game in Kansas City on July 10.
"Joe almost made it to the Twins' stadium last year, so I signed him up again this year," Jim Trollen said. "I said to Megan she should come along with us. She did it and won the first competition, then went to Midway Stadium and took first there. The organizers there pulled me aside and said that her score was abnormally high and we needed to make sure to go to Target Field and keep going."
In order to select the national competitors, Trollen's score of 984 was compared to 30 other regional winners. Overall, Trollen finished 10th in her age group nationally, however, only the top three from each age group earn a trip to the All-Star Game for the national competition.
"She's a little disappointed, but winning at Target Field was pretty exciting," Jim Trollen said. "I wish we could say she was going to the All-Star game, that'd be a great story. But, finishing the way she did was great."
In addition to playing softball, Megan Trollen, 14, was a state-meet participant as an eighth grader for the East Ridge gymnastics team and is an East Ridge dance team member.
Trollen said she felt she'd look back on the Pitch, Hit and Run contest fondly.
"It was really cool going to the Twins field," she said. "After I was done pitching I sat down and was thinking about how I was on the Twins' field. I'll always remember that and how my little brother Joe was always there and practicing with me."