Shawnee State University is the new host of the Gene Bennett Baseball Classic to be held June 14-17 at Branch Rickey Park, with additional games hosted at Portsmouth High School, Portsmouth West High School, and Valley High School.
"This is a good partnership between the community and the university," Dr. Rita Rice Morris, SSU President said. "This tournament is a great fit with our programs and we are looking forward to being a part of its growth."
Long-time Cincinnati Reds scout and tournament namesake Gene Bennett said that the tournament, now in its third year, has continued to grow with eight teams competing this year.
"We hope people will come out to see some incredible baseball," he said. "These are young players – all under 18 – who show us how the game can be played. Some of these teams have won national championships and we're grateful to have them all be a part of this event."
Participating in this year's classic are the Midland Redskins from Cincinnati whose former players include Ken Griffey, Jr., Mike Matheny and Barry Larkin; the Ohio Warhawks, of Springfield, whose former players include Pat Burrell, Brian Roberts and Brandon Phillips; Portsmouth Post 23, of Portsmouth, whose former players include Al Oliver, Larry Hisle, Gene Tenace, and Josh Newman as well as Shawnee State's Adam Wamsley and Ryan Hackworth; T3 Pelicans, of Cleveland, which is coached by former professional player Neall French and includes eight Division One players; the Huntington Hounds, of Huntington, W. Va., directed by Jon and Tim Adkins and showcasing regional talent; the Springfield Armaloy, of Springfield, coached by former Urbana Head Coach Al Fulk; and Team Citius USA Black and Red from Dallas, Texas, coached by Omar Washington.
"We have an outstanding lineup of teams for 2012," SSU Baseball Coach Ted Tom said. "We are really excited to be hosting teams with such a great history, not only in amateur baseball but in professional baseball as well. Shawnee State Baseball is looking forward to being the official host of the event and to bringing the center of the baseball universe to campus."
Games begin Thursday, June 14 at 11 a.m. at Portsmouth, Valley, and West High Schools and at noon at Branch Rickey Park. Official opening ceremonies will be held at 6 p.m. at Branch Rickey Park and will include a special recognition of state baseball champions Wheelersburg High School. Little League teams, as well as the general public, are invited and all admission is free of charge. The Glockner Family of Dealerships is awarding $500 to the Little League organization with the most uniformed players in attendance at the opening ceremonies.
A complete schedule of games, along with tournament results, may be found online at gbbc.shawnee.edu.