Some helpful links:
The SCBWI-C Pitch Practice Worksheet
(Not sure if this link will work if you're not signed in as a member of SCBWI-C)
Christy's Creative Space
On the importance of pitches (with a great analogy):
Lets play pretend. Look at each scenario. What would REALLY happen?
1. You are at the bookstore. You have no idea what book you want, but you want a book that will draw you in and captivate you. To make your decision you . . .
A. Take every book off the shelf, read the first chapter, maybe two, of every book. I mean hey! There's only thirty books in your pile and you've got all day. Right?
B. Place each book next to your ear to see if one "speaks" to you
C. Read that jacketflap, maybe the first page too.
With some pretty good ideas of constructing a pitch (with some good examples):
So, it seems to me that when perfecting your pitch paragraph (pes-ghetti!) your goal is to distill your story in three to five sentences with these three things (character/conflict/hint of outcome) in mind while maintaining the personality of the story in the pitch.