Submitted Press Release
PORTSMOUTH, Ohio – The Fifth Annual Gene Bennett Baseball Classic, which will be sponsored by Shawnee State University for the third year in a row, is slated to run from Thursday, June 12 through Sunday, June 15.
The classic honors Gene Bennett and his overall contributions to the game of baseball.
Bennett, who is a Scioto County native, began his foray into baseball lore in 1952 when he joined the Cincinnati Reds as a member of their farm system.
In 1958, Bennett would move into a part-time scouting position for Cincinnati and continued to progress through the scouting ranks before becoming a scouting supervisor for the Reds in 1975.
While performing in that capacity for Cincinnati, he signed many notable players, including Barry Larkin, a World Series champion with the Reds in 1990, the National League’s Most Valuable Player in 1995, and a 2012 Major League Baseball Hall of Fame inductee.He also signed Don Gullett, a local legend who starred for McKell High School in South Shore, KY. Gullett would later win two World Series rings with Cincinnati and two more with the New York Yankees over a span of four consecutive years from 1975 to 1978.
By the time Bennett had decided to call it a career before the 2011 season began, the Wheelersburg native had spent 58 seasons with the Reds and had been a part of three of the organization’s five World Series titles.
These aforementioned accomplishments fueled Bennett’s induction into the Middle Atlantic Major League Baseball Scouts Hall of Fame in 1996, the Wheelersburg High School Athletics Hall of Fame in 2001, and earned him the Legends of Scouting Award in January 2009.
In addition to honoring one of baseball’s finest scouts, the classic serves as a culmination of the most prestigious and elite amateur teams in North America, while also presenting a way to elevate and inspire youth, promote community development and bring baseball back to the Tri-State area.
This remains true in the 2014 edition of the Gene Bennett Baseball Classic, as 16 teams will be split into four divisions. The divisions are named after four of the most influential baseball players toplay in the Portsmouth area – Al Oliver, Gene Tenace, Don Gullett and Larry Hisle.
The contests encompassing the classic and its divisions will be played at seven different sites around the region: Branch Rickey Park, Greenup County High School, Lucasville Valley High School, Minford High School, Portsmouth High School’s Hatcher Field, Portsmouth West High School and Wheelersburg High School.
The classic will consist of pool play between each team in the four divisions on Thursday and Friday. All 16 teams will be seeded in order of win-loss records in the pool play for the single-elimination tournament that will be played on Saturday and Sunday.
Opening ceremonies for the Gene Bennett Baseball Classic are scheduled to start at 6 p.m. on Thursday, June 13th at Branch Rickey Park. The tournament’s championship game will be played at 1 p.m. on Sunday, June 16th, and will also be held at Branch Rickey Park. Admission is free to all of the games, regardless of whether it is a pool play or tournament game.
For game schedules and directions to the fields, visit the Gene Bennett Baseball Classic’s website at www.shawnee.edu/gene-bennett-classic or follow updates of the classic through Facebook at Gene Bennett Baseball Classic or Twitter @GBBClassic.