July 18, 2023
Seattle, WA - The 2023 MLB Players STEM League Global Championship wrapped up Monday, July 12th after a weekend of competition, learning, and home runs in Seattle. Kamron Richardson, representing Boys & Girls Club of St. Petersburg, Florida, and Liam Buchanan, a hometown Seattle hero representing Boys & Girls Club of Wallingford Washington claimed the title of Global Champions in a thrilling tournament competition. This year’s event marked a new chapter for MLB Players STEM League, with participants from outside the U.S. for the first time and Seattle Mariners’ outfielder Julio “JRod” Rodriguez serving as MLB Players STEM League player ambassador throughout All-Star Week festivities.
The action reached a climax on Sunday as students competed in the tournament portion of the event at the MLB Players House. After opening rounds of play, Richardson and Buchanan progressed all the way to the final round, where they competed against Niko Rober, representing Juniper Serra Elementary in San Francisco, CA and Kieran Welter, another Seattle native representing Salmon Bay K-8 School. Both teams demonstrated finely-honed math skills and strategy, with Richardson and Buchanan closing out the tournament with the win.
Learn Fresh and MLB Players Trust co-hosted the Global Championship event in conjunction with All-Star Week, and the event featured exciting experiences for students in addition to the tournament competition. To kick it all off, students attended a Welcome Party on Saturday evening, where they had a chance to meet their peers, get to know their teammates, and draft their teams.
Students kicked off Sunday’s action with a tour of the Players House, followed by a series of speakers, including Tony Clark, the Executive Director of the Major League Baseball Players Association, and a special video message from JRod. Round 1 began around noon with twelve teams representing seven U.S. states, Puerto Rico, and Belize. A total of three rounds were played, followed by the semi-finals and the highly anticipated championship round.
After a break, students wrapped up the activities at the Players House with a special session hosted by NASA. NASA astronaut and Spokane, WA native Anne McClain delivered a presentation about her life, career, and experience working on the International Space Station, followed by an animated question and answer session. Next, NASA staff led students through an interactive STEM activation that allowed them to experiment with VR technology used to train astronauts.
The following day, students and their families had the opportunity to explore Seattle before arriving at T-Mobile Park for the Home Run Derby. The winning and runner-up teams had the opportunity to walk on the field during batting practice, where they were able to speak with players, take photos, and collect signatures from some of their favorite players.
Launched in partnership with MLB Players Trust, MLB Players STEM League is a baseball-inspired STEM program for middle-school age youth. Built around a board game and curriculum, the program brings to life the energy of baseball while cultivating students’ math and social-emotional skills. The program launched in 2022 within the United States, and has since grown to serve students in Latin America and the Caribbean. During the 2023 season, MLB Players STEM League served 200 educators and over 10,000 students across all regions.
The student participants in this year’s Global Championship were selected based on qualifying criteria and nominations from their program educator. To qualify for application to the Global Championship, students must reach All-Star Student status during the season by displaying a high degree of growth through the program, a dedication to practicing good sportsmanship, and an ability to overcome adversity either inside or outside the classroom. Students must also complete a minimum of 15 MLB Players STEM League games over the course of the season. Students meeting these criteria were nominated by their program educator to apply, and participants were then selected from the pool of applicants.
Congratulations to all student participants in this year’s Global Championship!
2023 MLB Players STEM League Global Championship Winners:
Kamron Richardson (He/Him) - Saint Petersburg, Florida - Boys & Girls Club of St. Petersburg
William Buchanan (He/Him) - Seattle, Washington - Wallingford Boys & Girls Club
Niko Rober (He/Him) - San Francisco, California - J. Serra Elementary
Kieran Welter (He/Him) - Seattle, Washington - Salmon Bay K-8
From left to right: Winners Kamron Richardson and William Buchanan, and Runners-Up Niko Rober and Kieran Welter. Photo by Dani Monzi/Learn Fresh.
Scenes from the opening rounds of tournament play at the MLB Players STEM League Global Championship, featuring Team Baseball Bananas: Fabiola Pacheco Pastor of Ponce, Puerto Rico (L) and Jacob Burback of Seattle, WA (R). Photo by Dani Monzi/Learn Fresh.
NASA astronaut and Spokane, WA native Anne McClain engages students with tales from the ISS. Photo by Dani Monzi/Learn Fresh.
Katia Ramos of Ponce, Puerto Rico, experiments with VR technology during an activation with NASA. Photo by Dani Monzi/Learn Fresh.
Buchanan, Richardson, Rober, and Welter meet with Julio "JRod" Rodriguez during batting practice at the 2023 Home Run Derby at T-Mobile Park. Photo by Dani Monzi/Learn Fresh.