Derek Daly refused to check his second-place trophy as luggage during the flight home from New York City, where he wrapped Major League Baseball’s Pitch, Hit and Run competition on All-Star Weekend.
Ranking runner-up among the nationwide slew of kids in the baseball skills competition was nothing to sneeze at — evidenced by the passengers who stared at Daly’s prize.
“It was really good,” Daly said of his experience. “I had a lot of fun.”
Daly and his family spent an all-expenses-paid All-Star Weekend in the Big Apple, after the Oro Valley 10-year-old advanced to the national finals by beating area competitors during local and state competitions.
The Coronado Little Leaguer met the Texas Rangers’ Josh Hamilton and California Angels’ Ervin Santana, snaring a few autographs before shagging fly balls during the Home Run Derby.
“I remember that best,” Daly said.
Daly’s mother, Weiwen, said she was impressed at how the league wowed the kids — who ranged from 7 to 14 years old — touring them around the city and plastering them across wrecking ball-bound Yankee Stadium’s JumboTron.
The competition’s handlers even found Weiwen’s digital camera, which she’d lost somewhere at LaGuardia International Airport.
“The whole experience was just such great treatment,” Weiwen said. “They did a great job.”
The Daly family travels to Chase Field this Wednesday, where the Arizona Diamondbacks recognize Derek during a short pregame festivity.