T.J. Avgerinos, a 12-year-old South Side Middle School student who plays for the Long Island Mud Dogs, a travel baseball team, had the opportunity to enter the Golden Arm Competition in Cooperstown Dreams Park on the grounds of the Baseball Hall of Fame, and compete against 101 other kids from around the country and Canada.
It wasn’t a pitching contest as much as it was a competition to measure accuracy. The kids threw to a target 150 feet away, similar to a dart board, with the outer rim worth 1 point, the inner rim worth 3 points and a bull’s eye worth 5 points.
There were two rounds: a preliminary round with the top eight kids qualifying and the final round. Each kid got three tosses. T.J. got 3 points in the first round and that was good enough to qualify for the finals.
T.J. was the seventh player to go in the finals. The leader had 2 points. T.J.’s first throw just missed and went over the board, his second throw was on target for 3 points, just missing the bull’s eye, and his final throw just missed over the target. He finished in the lead at that time with 3 points. There was one more kid left in the competition. The boy was from California and wound up finishing with 2 points. T.J. was the Golden Arm winner.
Cooperstown Dreams Park gave T.J. a trophy and had him run around the warning track, high-fiving everyone in the stadium. It was a night he will always remember.