Like several other coaches who packed into the Reds Hall of Fame and Museum theater, Moeller baseball coach Tim Held is looking forward to the first day of official Ohio practice on Monday.
Moeller, the reigning Division I state champions, is finalizing some roster spots this week for a squad that has received national preseason rankings this winter. This week, MaxPreps ranked Moeller the state’s No. 1-ranked team and No. 47 nationally.
Held is also looking forward to the opportunity for the Crusaders to participate in the second annual Reds Futures High School Showcase this upcoming season.
“This event truly brings a tournament atmosphere and flavor to our kids,” Held said.
The Showcase increased the number of participating schools from 50 to 64 with 20 teams playing in the event for the first time. The event has scheduled games from March 25 to April 15.
“We are very pleased to give additional schools the opportunity to be a part of such a great event all made possible by the Reds and their continuing desire to support baseball at all levels in the Greater Cincinnati community,” said Tom Gamble, president of In-Game Sports. “And to have former Reds players involved with their alma maters, it is an even better baseball experience.”
Ron Oester and Todd Benzinger, members of the 1990 World Series champion Reds, will throw out ceremonial first pitches at games involving their alma maters.
Oester is a 1974 graduate of Withrow High School and played for the Reds from 1978 to 1990. He will throw out the first pitch before the Withrow vs. Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy game on April 11 at Xavier University.
Benzinger is a 1981 graduate of New Richmond High School and played for the Reds from 1989 to 1991. He will throw out the first pitch when New Richmond hosts Goshen on April 12. Benzinger’s brother Brian is the varsity baseball coach at New Richmond.
“The Reds believe in fostering baseball at all levels including supporting local high schools’ teams,” said Phil Castellini, Reds Chief Operating Officer.
Teams will have the opportunity to play on three fields that have been renovated by the Reds Community Fund, including Brian Wilson Field in Batavia Township, Brandon Phillips Field in Winton Terrace and at Roselawn Park, the future home of the P&G MLB Urban Youth Academy. The renovations at Brian Wilson Field were underwritten by Reds All-Star outfielder Jay Bruce.
“It’s a special event for all of high school baseball because it brings to the forefront baseball like what we have for football and basketball and we are excited that the Reds and Tom Gamble’s group are involved in making such a good thing happen for so many kinds,” said Walnut Hills athletic director Tom Donnelly. “...We really appreciate all the resources and all the time that had to put into this to make it such a success.”
Tickets for the Reds Futures High School Showcase games are $5 and good for all games on that day.
Advance tickets can be purchased at each of the participating schools beginning March 11. Tickets also will be available on game days at each of the host facilities.
The culminating event of the Showcase will be April 21 with the players and coaches from the 64 high schools participating in a pregame parade at the Reds vs. Miami Marlins game. An MVP from each of the 32 games will be recognized on field during pregame ceremonies.
Reds Futures High School Showcase
Monday, March 25
Conner vs. Lawrenceburg, 5 p.m. (Northern Kentucky University)
Tuesday, March 26
St. Henry vs. Simon Kenton, 5 p.m. (St. Henry High School)
Thursday, March 28
Covington Catholic vs. Newport Central Catholic, 2 p.m. (NKU)
Ryle vs. Scott, 5 p.m. (Northern Kentucky University)
Saturday, March 30
Beechwood vs. Campbell County, Noon (Northern Kentucky University)
Cooper vs. Holy Cross, 2:30 p.m. (Northern Kentucky University)
Taylor vs. Walnut Hills, Noon (Roselawn Park)
Hughes vs. North College Hill, 2:30 p.m. (Roselawn Park)
Purcell Marian vs. Riverview East, Noon (Roselawn Park)
Tuesday, April 2
Reading vs. Seven Hills, 4:30 p.m. (Western Hills High School)
Western Hills vs. Wyoming, 7 p.m. (Western Hills High School)
Clark Montessori vs. Winton Woods, 4:30 p.m. (Brandon Phillips Field)
Saturday, April 6
Indian Hill vs. Ross, 1 p.m. (Miami University)
Edgewood vs. Hamilton Badin, 3:30 p.m. (Miami University)
Monday, April 8
Glen Este vs. Turpin, 5 p.m. (Brian Wilson Field)
Tuesday, April 9
Colerain vs. Oak Hills, 4:30 p.m. (Prasco Park)
Hamilton vs. Sycamore, 7 p.m. (Prasco Park)
Wednesday, April 10
Madeira vs. Mariemont, 4:30 p.m. (Prasco Park)
Cincinnati Christian vs. Summit Country Day, 7p.m. (Prasco Park)
Amelia vs. Bethel-Tate, 5 p.m. (Brian Wilson Field)
Thursday, April 11 La Salle vs. Moeller, 4:30 p.m. (Prasco Park)
Elder vs. St. Xavier, 7 p.m. (Prasco Park)
Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy vs. Withrow, 5 p.m. (Xavier University)
Anderson vs. Milford, 4:30 p.m. (University of Cincinnati)
McNicholas vs. Roger Bacon, 7 p.m. (University of Cincinnati)
Friday, April 12
Lakota West vs. Princeton, 5 p.m. (Prasco Park)
Lakota East vs. Mason, 7 p.m. (Prasco Park)
Fairfield vs. Middletown, 7:30 p.m. (Prasco Park)
Goshen vs. New Richmond, 4:30 p.m. (New Richmond High School)
Batavia vs. Clermont Northeastern, 5 p.m. (Brian Wilson Field)
Monday, April 15
Kings vs. Loveland, 4:30 p.m. (Kings High School)
Harrison vs. Talawanda, 4:30 p.m. (Harrison High School)