(Neb.) - Coy Bila is full of confidence heading to Kansas City
Decked out in a purple Rockies baseball cap and a light blue shirt with the “Pitch, Hit and Run” logo Coy Bila sits in a chair with a smile from ear-to-ear as conversation begins about his recent news of being a national finalist for the PHR competition.
He was excited….and he should be. At the age of 12, Bila is headed to Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City to compete in the national finals of the event. But that’s not all he and his competitors, Kyler Fedko and Ty Bender, will participate in. They get to be a vital part of the home run derby, something many of us would have loved to do as kids.
“I get to be in the outfield shagging,” Bila said with a smile. “It’s going to be awesome!”
The kids also get the chance to go to the All-Star game, something that makes even the older baseball fans jealous.
And you can’t forget about the free stuff – in addition to an all-expense paid trip to the game and meeting the players at a mixer-type event – they will receive for earning their spot.
The young Bila has the type of attitude you want in a competitor, in a winner. He will tell you he is a good athlete. And as he lists all the sports he plays and positions he will even tell you he is “pretty good at everything.” Make no mistake, he isn’t being cocky…..it’s confidence.
It’s evident if you watch his demeanor as he supports the others on his baseball team when they begin to struggle, or when he walks around and will take time to talk to other kids, parents and coaches. That’s humbleness. It’s almost as if this 12-year-old kid understands his ability, but always realizes he is human.
That is the appearance of a special athlete.
It took some time for Bila to get where he is. He has competed in the event every year that he has been eligible, starting in 2007 at the age of 7.
In his second year of competition Bila made it to the Denver round only to finish second. One of the years he qualified for the sectional and they didn’t go. As Bila recalled he had a baseball game on the day of the competition and decided to stay and play. We can all appreciate someone who chooses to put a team ahead of themselves.
This year Bila won the local event hosted by the Chadron Kiwanis. Then he went to Sturgis, only to win again and qualify for the opportunity to compete in Denver at the home of the Rockies.
“Oh, it was awesome. It was like the nicest field I’ve ever been on.”
It’s one thing to be on that nice field and it’s another thing to compete well on it. Bila again gathered his confidence and used it for an advantage. As he set out to compete he knew he could win it.
“When I went to Denver I was like ‘Alright I am going to win this thing’ and I did win the thing.”
And win he did beating the competition by about 400 points, according to Bila.
Contrary to what many people thought the win in Denver did not immediately qualify Bila as a national finalist. It put him in the champions category and the top three scores from the champions at 30 MLB baseball parks were named the finalists in each age/gender division.
With the competition in Denver early in the month it was a waiting game for Bila. The competitions at the other ballparks were spread out throughout the month with a planned announcement of June 24 on the MLB Network.
If you are someone who thinks you have a legitimate shot at being named a finalist a couple of weeks can drag on for what seems like, well, forever.
“I have just been anxious to see,” said Bila. “It’s been going by so slow.”
When the day finally came it was pretty much a normal relaxing day for Bila. He returned from a camping trip with a friend and then got a nap in. If you are going to have your name read on the MLB Network at the age of 12 you better be well rested to soak it in.
The show MLB Tonight
began at 4:00 p.m. MT. And around 4:30 the announcement happened
. When he say his name Bila let out a “Yes” and then turned to Mom to say, “that’s me!” As he stands up and walks around Bila says he is excited, in a very calm voice. See his reaction here
And finally, the wait was over.
It’s a father/son thing
When you watch Coy, or any of the Bila boys for that matter, you can see that he is determined to succeed. He wants to win. He is a competitor.
And he gets it from the man who he not only calls ‘dad’, but ‘coach’ as well. When you watch Rob as he coaches baseball on a warm summer evening you can see exactly where the competitor gene comes from. Rob wants to win. But he wants to win for the kids more than anything. He is determined and will spend a lot of time with the kids to try and get them to succeed.
As the father – and coach – Rob has supported his boys and helped give them the chance to compete in whatever they want. His oldest, Chance, was also successful through a few rounds of the PHR competition. He has helped Coy, too.
Coy has the chance to take one person with him to the All-Star game and although he respects all of the support that his mother gives, it was a no brainer who would be alongside for the trip.
“I’ll take my dad, probably,” said the younger Bila. “He’s the one who has coached me for everything and showed me.”
“It makes me feel proud,” said Dad. “It’s a very proud thing to have your son as well as a player just appreciate the time that goes into bring a kid to a certain level.”
Anyone who has been around Chadron knows that Rob has coached his boys’ baseball teams since they were young. In fact last year Rob coached two separate teams because his boys were in separate age divisions. Although it can be a grind at times, Rob really enjoys the chance to coach his own kids.
“It’s very refreshing to be able to coach your child in sports, especially something that you have a passion for as well and you can see the passion in their eyes,” Rob explained. “It’s nice to be able to come out and share with them a game that has meant so much to them over the years.”
For Coy have his father as a coach is something he’s “just gotten used to” over the years. However, he admits that it’s “kinda handy” to have his dad as his coach. It gives them some time to work on things outside of practice as well.
Bila said he will arrive in Kansas City on July 8 and compete on July 9 before shagging balls during the home run derby. The All-Star game is July 10.
According to both Bila’s, Coy has improved at each level. Improving one more time wouldn’t be a terrible idea. At the rate he has improved over the past couple of competitions it would pressure the competition for a near perfect effort.
Rob said Coy didn’t hit as well at the local competition before hitting four targets in Sturgis and five in Denver. The total number of hitting targets is six.
Regardless of the outcome next week, Coy is already a winner. He becomes the second Chadron native to qualify for such event and being mentioned as a national finalist is certainly a win.
However, if you know Coy, you know he won’t settle for just qualify. The kid will compete. And he will compete to the best of his ability.
That’s all he knows how to do.
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