JUCO’s Dare to Dream station allows kids to throw baseballs like the pros

Nathan Romos, 7, of Grand Junction tries to hit the hole as he pitches Tuesday afternoon at the Mizuno booth at the Alpine Bank Junior College World Series. The exhibit has been a hit with the youngsters at JUCO. Romos threw the perfect pitch twice.

Even the youngest baseball player can feel just like San Francisco Giant’s pitcher Tim Lincecum when throwing at the Dare to Dream station.

The blow-up station, part of Mizuno’s exhibit under the third-base grandstands at this year’s Alpine Bank Junior College World Series, is one of the more popular attractions this year.

“It’s fun,” Tyler Vandermeer said, “(but) it’s pretty hard.”

Would-be pitchers of all sizes can test their skill by trying to throw a baseball through a hole approximately six inches in diameter.

It’s more challenging than it looks.

Mizuno Brand Building Specialist Robbie Carson takes the exhibit, one of 11 throughout the country, around a four-state region during the baseball season.

“It’s grass-roots promotion,” Carson said.

The exhibit also includes an RV and a tent display with every type of baseball equipment Mizuno makes on hand.

The youths take a gander at the bats and gloves and shoes, but it’s the Dare to Dream exhibit that draws the most attention.

Ryan McIvor, who completed his freshman year at Central High School last week, couldn’t wait to try his hand at it. After all, he was a pitcher and first baseman on the Warriors’ freshman team this season.

Carson has fun with each participant.

“I get to interact with the kids,” he said.

For fun, he’ll make bets with the kids.

Each participant gets three chances to throw a baseball through the target. Then it’s Carson’s turn. If he gets more pitches through the hole than they do, they have to drop on spot and do 10 pushups. If they’re more accurate that Carson, he gives them a raffle ticket.

“Some of the older kids think they can beat me, and sometimes they do,” Carson said.

At the end of each JUCO game, Mizuno raffles off memorbilia — baseball gloves, batting gloves, T-shirts, baseballs. There’s even a baseball autographed by Todd Helton of the Colorado Rockies

McIvor’s repertoire for the exhibit was strictly fastballs.

“I didn’t want to throw my curve, that’s for sure,” he said.

In the end, he still owed Carson 10 pushups.

This is Carson’s third year brining the exhibit to JUCO.

“I remember (some of) the kids and they remember me,” he said.

In the end, it’s not about pushups or even raffle tickets.

“We want the kids to leave with an experience to remember,” Carson said.


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