Payson Diamond Skills Champ Lands Day In Bank One Ballpark

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For the third consecutive year, 9-year-old Ridge Halenar will compete in the state championship round of the Fleer Diamond Skills Baseball Challenge.

The youngster learned early this week that the score he racked up May 20 in the sectional championship at Scottsdale Papago Park was good enough to qualify him for the state championship.

He enters the state competition as the Northeast regional all-around champion and will compete against three other regional champs.

In Diamond Skills, youngsters compete against one another in baserunning, fielding and hitting.

The gold medal round will be contested June 9 at Bank One Ball Park in Phoenix prior to a game between the Diamondbacks and the California Angels.

The Diamond Skills competitors will be the special guests of the Diamondbacks and they'll be introduced to the crowd in attendance.

Should Halenar emerge victorious at state, he would qualify for the national championships July 8 to 12 in Atlanta, Ga. The national shootout is held in conjunction with the professional baseball all-star game.

Halenar's road to the state championship began April 12 when he won the Payson age group crown amassing 877 points.

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