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Moline lives out dream on Major League field

—Submitted photo Lane Moline, of Manson, competes in the Major League Baseball Pitch, Hit and Run event in Chicago.

CHICAGO — For Lane Moline, a baseball diamond has always felt like home.

Moline, a 14-year-old from Manson, recently took part in Major League Baseball’s Pitch, Hit and Run event held here inside Guaranteed Rate Field, the home of the Chicago White Sox.

“Competing on an MLB field was surreal and at the same time, felt like playing baseball always does,” said Lane, who will be a freshman in the fall. “It was cool competing against other players I don’t normally play against. They were very friendly and we interacted the entire time.

“I started playing baseball with my dad (Grant) at three years old and joined a team in Fort Dodge a year later. Baseball has always felt natural to me. I’ve been fortunate to play with other players from many different schools and grades, and have learned so much from these teams and coaches.”

Back in April, Moline won the all-around competition at a local event in Manson, advancing to sectionals in Eldora. He was again named the all-around champion, which qualified him for the team championship in June.

“I received the email during a conference call I was hosting and was so excited reading it that it took me a few minutes to regain my composure,” said Jill Moline, Lane’s mom. “After reading through it and telling Lane and my husband, Grant, about it, I was so excited and proud that I choked up trying to share the news.”

The timing was ideal for Lane, as the White Sox played host to his favorite team, the Cleveland Indians, on the day of the event. The Indians would post a 5-2 victory over the White Sox hours after the competition.

“Lane competed well, finishing third in his age group,” Jill said. “The young men competing with Lane had the same love of baseball and had travelled from Southeast Iowa and Indiana to be there.”

The family arrived at 7;15 a.m. to the ballpark, with the competition starting shortly after. Lane completed the 180-feet run from second base to home plate, hit three balls for distance and completed six pitches. Points were awarded based on speed, distance hit and how many pitches landed in the strike zone.

“It was great to see him participate on a Major League Baseball field,” Grant said. “This was a fantastic opportunity for Lane. As a parent, it was surreal and a little stressful to watch. All we wanted for Lane was that he enjoy the experience, have fun and be satisfied with his effort.”

Jill echoed those thoughts, saying “Watching Lane perform on an MLB field was an amazing experience full of talented young people whose love for baseball and softball was inspiring.

“Watching Lane run the bases was one of the coolest moments of the weekend,” she added. “We are very proud of Lane’s efforts, sportsmanship and commitment to the sport he loves.”

Pitch, Hit and Run is the official skills competition of Major League Baseball. There are four different age groups for either baseball or softball, with four levels of competition including locals, sectionals, team championships and national finals, which are held during MLB All-Star Week.