Local little leaguer headed to Calif. to vie for national title

GUILDERLAND, N.Y. (NEWS10) – A local little leaguer is about to take the trip of a lifetime.

Tyler Witazek, of Slingerlands, is headed to the MLB All-Star game in San Diego, but he’s not going as a spectator.

“I thought I was gonna win the whole thing the minute I competed,” he said.

And now, the 8-year old has the chance to do just that. His confidence was a champion through each stage of the Pitch, Hit and Run competition, which started with 625,000 participants nationwide.

Tyler won the local and sectional championships, which earned him a trip to Yankee Stadium for the regional round. His mother, Maria Witazek, was a nervous wreck in the stands. But her son was calm on the field.

“He enjoys competition,” she said. “Everything’s competitive to Tyler – even with his brother: Who’s gonna brush their teeth first? Who’s gonna get to bed first? Who ate more? Did I win? Did I win this?”

At Yankee Stadium, he did win.

“My mind was blown,” Tyler said. “I was, like, so excited. I was so happy.”

But he still had to wait. Only the top three contenders in each age group throughout the country would get a ticket to the national finals.

The families were forced to watch on television, but Tyler had a baseball game that night, so they taped it.

“Tyler had said before we left, ‘Do not tell me if I won. I want to wait and see for myself on television,’” his mother recalled.

“I wanted to find out by myself,” he said.

When he got home, he saw his name listed as a finalist.

“My jaws dropped,” he said. “I’m like, ‘Oh, my God.’”

Jon Phillips is the president of Guilderland Little League.

“Very mature to be the type of kid in this moment where he could be big and boisterous,” he said. “He’s just very humble.”

Even though he has reasons to brag.

Not only is Tyler competing for a national championship, he also gets two tickets to the All-Star game. He’ll also be on the field shagging balls during the Home Run Derby.

What’s he most looking forward to?

“I’m looking forward to winning the whole thing,” he said.

“That’s the attitude to have, and he’s been practicing, so it’s good to know he thinks he has a shot,” Phillips said.

Tyler’s already thought of what it might feel like to win the title.

“I’m thinking I’m gonna be, like, explosions in my mind,” he said. “A million explosions in my mind.”

This will be Tyler’s first trip ever on an airplane, so he hopes to enjoy the experience from start to finish.

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