Brittyn Bruns (right) and her brother, Brayden (left) had the chance to meet and get batting tips from Cincinnati Reds outfielder Adam Duvall (center) at the MLB All-Star Game. (Photo courtesy of the Bruns family)
Brittyn Bruns (right) and her brother, Brayden (left) had the chance to meet and get batting tips from Cincinnati Reds outfielder Adam Duvall (center) at the MLB All-Star Game. (Photo courtesy of the Bruns family)
BY COLIN KRIEGEL

DHI Media Community Reporter

ckriegel@timesbulletin.com

ROCKFORD — 8-year-old Brittyn Bruns of Rockford recently returned home from the experience of a lifetime, participating in the Scotts MLB Pitch, Hit & Run and T-Mobile Jr. Home Run Derby, played in Petco Park, the site of the 87th MLB All-Star Game.

Bruns was able to qualify for the MLB Pitch, Hit & Run after winning at the local and sectional competitions, both held in Rockford, then she was awarded first-place at the team championships in Cleveland, which led to her spot at the national level in San Diego.

Bruns ended up placing 3rd in the 7/8 age group. According to Brittyn’s mother, Brandi, Brittyn walked away from the experience with quite a bit.

“She’s got a big trophy and then each of the contestants were given all kinds of free goodies throughout the weekend,” Brandi said. “She got a new bat bag, all kinds of new clothes and all kinds of things from Fan Fest and the parades.”

Brandi says the chance to participate was fantastic for both Brittyn and the entire family.

“It was just an awesome opportunity for Brittyn and even our entire family,” she said. “She really was kind of treated like royalty.”

Bruns’ favorite part of the All-Star weekend was being able to be on the field for the Home Run Derby.

One thing she was hoping to experience was meeting her favorite player, ‘Big Papi’ David Ortiz. She did not get to meet him face to face but did see him from a distance at various points of the weekend.

“I saw him sitting down by the players because we got to sit down by them during the Home Run Derby.”

Bruns may not have met Ortiz, but she did get up close and personal with Cincinnati Reds outfielder Adam Duvall, who was a participant in this year’s Home Run Derby.

"She was in taking batting practice and he [Duval] was giving Brittyn and her brother batting tips when they were in the batting cages,” Brandi said.

Bruns says she was pretty nervous being in such a big city like San Diego and experiencing such a monstrous event.

“It was my first time there so I was kind of nervous,” she said. “But then we started walking around so I got to see everything and I kind of got used to it. It was pretty fun.”

For Bruns, it was not the trophies or the new clothes that made the experience incredible, but something she can hold on to forever; memories and friends.

“I have two new best friends!” she said. “One is from Alabama and one is from Pennsylvania.”

Bruns says her parents got contact information for both girls to hopefully keep in touch from time to time.

Bruns intends on trying to qualify in next year’s event and if she makes it to the national level again, hopes to improve her performance at pitching at a target, which she said was the most difficult part of the competition.