For Greene County News
DAYTON — Fifth Third Field and the Dayton Dragons will host high school baseball for the 11th straight season in 2016 with a series of games commencing on Tuesday, April 12. This spring, 32 different high schools will play regular season games at the home of the Dragons.
The games at Fifth Third Field also serve as a fundraiser for the participating schools. This year’s series of games will raise approximately $30,000 for the schools to help with the cost of uniforms, equipment, and bus transportation.
All games are sponsored by MAC Athletics, Inc. experts in athletic facility planning, design, construction, and equipment acquisition. Go to macathletix.com for more information on their services.
The contests at Fifth Third Field will feature a number of highly touted programs and individual standouts. Among the teams participating there are 16 players who have already made college commitments, including four individuals who earned all-state honors last season. In addition, five of the schools were ranked or receiving votes in their respective divisions at the conclusion of the 2015 campaign.
The first game on the schedule will pit the Urbana Hillclimbers against the Graham Falcons on April 12. First pitch is slated for 7 p.m. The remaining 16 match-ups will take place as part of eight different nights of doubleheaders. The first game each evening will begin at 4:30 p.m. followed by the nightcap at 7 p.m.
Ohio State supporters will want to pay extra attention to a couple of games early in the schedule. On Tuesday, April 19 at 7 p.m., future Buckeye, and reigning Cross County Conference Player of the Year, Connor Pohl will lead Arcanum up against Franklin-Monroe. On the next night at 4:30 p.m. another Buckeye commit, left-handed pitcher Seth Lonsway, and his teammates at Celina will square off with Lewistown Indian Lake. Celina is coming off of a season that saw them win the Western Buckeye League and finish with a top-20 ranking among Division II schools.
Other top prospects playing at Fifth Third Field this spring who on their way to power conference schools include Ty Duvall, a catcher at Lebanon who is heading to Vanderbilt, and southpaw Jackson Tedder of Beavercreek who will play collegiately at Virginia. Duvall will team with outfielder Shea Kenneally when Lebanon tries to take down Springfield on at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, April 21. Kenneally has committed to Division III powerhouse Marietta College. There is a good chance that either Tedder or fellow lefty and Coker College signee Jackson Back will be on the mound when Beavercreek and Fairborn clash at 7 p.m. on Friday, April 22.
The late game on April 21 will feature a showdown between two strong programs with plenty of next-level talent on display. The Springboro Panthers are coming off a season in which they tied for first place in the Greater Western Ohio Conference’s South Division. Their roster includes Jake Bourke, a shortstop who is headed to South Carolina Upstate, and left-handed pitcher Drew Holweger, a Furman commit. Opposing the Panthers are the Liberty Township Lakota East Thunderhawks and three players who have made their college choices. Pitcher Ryan Middendorf will play at Lake Erie College, outfielder Kaleb Lepper is on his way to Cornell, and catcher Austin Hatfield has decided to join the program at Carson Newman.
Another big match-up is slated for 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 4 when Cincinnati Summit Country Day meets up with Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy. Summit Country Day lost in last year’s Division III state championship game, while CHCA went undefeated in the Miami Valley Conference and finished ranked third in all of Division III. The Eagles are led by future Georgia Tech outfielder Chase Murray.
In addition to some of the top players in the area, Fifth Third Field will host two of the winningest coaches in Ohio prep baseball history. Bruce Cahill, the head coach at Tipp City Tippecanoe, owns 606 career wins which places him 12th in state history. Under his guidance, the Red Devils have won six straight sectional championships and finished at the top of their conference in five of the last six seasons. They will meet Greenon at 4:30 p.m. on May 4. The next night at 7 p.m., Dave King and the Sidney Lehman Catholic Cavaliers will oppose the Fort Laramie Redskins. King has 542 wins to his credit, which places him in a tie for 17th all-time. His club, which ended 2015 ranked fourth in Division IV, is led by first team all-state pitcher Nate Bosway.
The Dayton Dragons have been hosting the Miami Valley’s best baseball teams since 2006 and are proud to continue the tradition for an 11th year. A complete list of high school baseball games scheduled to be played at Fifth Third Field can be found below.
All games are free to attend. Gates will open 30 minutes prior to the first game played that day. High schools may provide their own public address announcers, broadcasters, cheer squads, and national anthem singers. Participating schools sell Dragons tickets to help raise money for their programs.