IM ballplayer chosen as bat ‘ambassador’

CONNOR PICKETT OF Iron Mountain practices his pitching. Pickett was named the Fall 2018 National Baseball Ambassador for BamBooBat. (Theresa Proudfit/Daily News photo)

IRON MOUNTAIN — Connor Pickett of Iron Mountain and his mother, Stacy, just thought they were making a pitch for a bat.

Instead, 9-year-old Connor will be the face of Pinnacle Sports Equipment Inc.’s BamBooBat and will participate in the Baseball Youth All-American Games in Orlando in January.

Pickett, who plays shortstop and pitcher for Iron Mountain’s UCT, said his mother had the idea to enter the BamBooBat Ambassador Contest on Facebook in July. Pinnacle Sports Equipment Inc. is the exclusive distributor of the BamBooBat, made with a mix of bamboo species.

“I just thought we were signing up to win a wooden bat,” Stacy Pickett admitted.

The contest on the brand’s Facebook page asked parents to submit photos of baseball kids, with a statement from the players on what baseball means to him or her.

Connor Pickett of Iron Mountain will be the face of Pinnacle Sports Equipment Inc.'s BamBooBat and will participate in the Baseball Youth All-American Games in Orlando in January.

“Baseball is my life and I want to play it every day and night,” Connor responded. “The best sound is when you crack the ball and run the bases. I am a team player and I know my team is behind me every step. Baseball is life!”

Eventually, the company narrowed down the competition to 10 finalists, then asked fans to vote on their favorite. The winner was selected by a combination of most liked photo, photo comments and strongest statement.

Pickett’s entry received 211 comments and 65 shares to get the win. “I was coming home from my friends, and my Mom told me in the car (I’d won). I didn’t know what to say,” he said.

As the first-ever winner of the National BamBooBat Ambassador contest, Pickett will represent the brand in all social media marketing, on the official brand website and other promotional opportunities.

He also wins a full line of sporting gear from Pinnacle Sports Equipment, Inc. and professional photo shoot will be scheduled in Iron Mountain in coming weeks.

Pickett plays on his 10 and under all-star team, fills in on 12u and also plays fall ball for fun with 16u. Last year he was the sole pitcher on his championship Little League team. He continues to develop his skills by taking professional pitching training throughout the winter.

A favorite fill-in experience came when Pickett was asked to play right field for the American Legion team when they were short a player. During the game, Pickett caught two fly balls and merited an appearance on a local television newscast.

“We are excited for the opportunity, but I think a lot of the credit goes to Paul Julian, who has invited Connor to play and practice with the older kids. Because that is where he has really taken off with his skills,” Stacy Pickett said.

After his photo was submitted on Facebook, his mother received a message from a Baseball Youth scout who admired his pitching form and asked to see videos.

“I had some videos from his league games, and then they wanted to see some fielding, so we took some videos up at east-side field and sent them. Then they asked him, ‘Would you be interested in playing in the All-American games in Orlando in January?'” Stacy Pickett said.

The Pickett family plans to fly into Orlando on New Year’s Eve, and the All-American games are scheduled for Jan. 2-5 at the Boombah Sports Complex at Seminole County.

“We’re excited, but he earned it,” said Mike Pickett, Connor’s coach and father.

Connor Pickett thinks his dad is a “good coach.”