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Masterson named First Pitch speaker

FAIRBORN — The Wright State baseball program has announced that major league pitcher and Beavercreek native Justin Masterson will be the keynote speaker at the 12th annual First Pitch Banquet on Friday, Feb. 5, 2016, on the main arena floor in WSU’s Nutter Center.

Masterson is a 2003 graduate of Beavercreek High School where he starred in baseball and basketball. He then attended Bethel College in Mishawaka, Ind. for two seasons before transferring to San Diego State University for his junior year. There he pitched for Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn and was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the 2nd round of the 2006 MLB draft following the college season. He shot through the minors and made his MLB debut on April 24, 2008.

At the trade deadline in 2009, he was sent to the Cleveland Indians where they immediately turned him into a starter and he went on to win 43 games over the span of four and a half years with the club. In 2010, he cemented himself as the Indians’ ace and in 2013 had the best year of his career, while finishing in the Top 10 in almost every major pitching category and capped it off by being named to the MLB All Star team.

In 2014 he was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals at the trade deadline and signed back with the Boston Red Sox for the 2015 season. Justin and his wife Meryl were married on November 7, 2007, and have a five year-old daughter, Eden Joy, and two year-old twins, Nadia Ann and Cruz Daniel.

Justin was the Indians nominee for the 2011 and 2013 Roberto Clemente Award which is given annually to the MLB player who “best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement and the individual’s contribution to his team”. Every offseason, Justin and Meryl travel the world to places like the Dominican Republic and Kenya on mission trips to serve children through organizations such as Bright Hope. Two years ago, the Mastersons founded The Fortress Foundation (fortressfoundation.org) to help their many charitable endeavors, including FCA, Pub Theology, Not for Sale, Strongwalk ministries, and numerous other local churches.

The First Pitch Banquet features a sit-down dinner along with a silent auction. The cost for the event will be $70 per person or a VIP table for 10 guests costing $1,000. The VIP table includes recognition during the program and admission to a pre-event meet and greet with Masterson. The doors will open to the public at 6:30 p.m.

EVENTS

WWE Smackdown coming to Nutter Center

FAIRBORN — Wright State University will be the site of a WWE Smackdown professional wrestling event, starting at 7 p.m., Jan. 21 at the Ervin J. Nutter Center.

Roman Reigns, Sheamus, Kane, Dean Ambrose, Bray Wyatt & The Wyatt Family, The USOs and others are expected to be on the fight card.

Tickets, starting at $15, are on sale at the Nutter Center, Ticketmaster.com, area Ticketmaster outlets and by phone at 800-745-3000.

Compiled by John Bombatch. Please send your sports information to: sports@xeniagazette.com.

Compiled by John Bombatch. Please send your sports information to: sports@xeniagazette.com.

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