OAKLAND -- Early Sunday morning at the Coliseum, several hours before the A's and Red Sox took the field, 24 kids played ball with a potential trip to the All-Star Game in Minneapolis on the line.

Competing in Major League Baseball's Pitch, Hit and Run event, sponsored by Scott's, the kids strutted their stuff inside a mostly empty stadium -- save for the groundskeepers and, of course, the parents, with camcorders and smartphones in tow.

"Are you nervous?" one girl asked another, lined up along the left-field line before the event got underway.

"Yeah," she replied. "I didn't think I would be, but now I am. It's so cool."

The boys and girls were divided into four age groups: 7-8, 9-10, 11-12, and 13-14. They had already advanced past local and sectional rounds, and this was the final hurdle.

All 30 Major League clubs hold a Pitch, Hit and Run competition, and the top three scorers nationally in each age group compete in the finals during All-Star weekend.

"Way to go, Superman!" yelled one supporter to Andrew Saldana of Lathrop, Calif., after he fired a few strikes in the pitching portion.

The kids got three swings apiece off a tee from home plate, and were timed dashing from second to home.

Final scores were calculated, winners were announced, and everyone, regardless of performance, received a plaque.

"You were on a Major League field," one dad reminded his son after meeting him in the stands behind third base.

For some of the kids, that simple fact was enough.

"Dad, look what I got: a ball that was on the field!" beamed Connor Poreidor of Jackson, Calif., the winner of the ages 7-8 boys division.

Then he added, almost as an aside: "I hope I get to go to..."

"Minnesota," he was reminded.

"Yeah, that."

The national finalists will be announced June 29 on MLB Network.