PDT Staff Writer
Shawnee State University announced Tuesday it has taken over the management of the Gene Bennett Baseball Classic.
This year’s classic is scheduled for June 14-17 with games being played at Valley and West high schools and Branch Rickey Park in Portsmouth.
“The name Gene Bennett is very well-respected in baseball. For us to be able to associate ourselves with that is outstanding,” said Ted Tom, tournament director and SSU baseball coach.
Teams competing in this year’s tournament include American Legion Post 23 of Portsmouth, the T3 Pelicans of Cleveland, The Armoloy of Springfield, The Huntington Hounds of Huntington, W.Va., a couple of teams out of Dallas, Texas, among others.
Bennett said he expects the tournament to expand because of the collaboration.
“We are looking forward to having a lot of people come in for the tournament over the years. Our goal each year is to increase the number of teams. Next year we are hoping to bring in 10 to 12 teams and over time we would like to get the tournament up to 20 teams,” Bennett said.
Bennett spoke about how the tournament contributes to the local economy with the people coming in from out of town that stay in hotels and shop locally.
“This tournament is a great match for us; it does all the right things. It’s linked to people who have values that we want to make certain our students are exposed to. This is a tournament that focuses on giving young people a chance to learn about the sport,” said Dr. Rita Rice Morris, president of Shawnee State University. “We see this as a good partnership between the community and the university, it’s win win for everybody.”
Wayne Allen may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 208, or email@example.com.