Skyline Reds Futures Showcase to feature 70 area teams

Phil Castellini Chief Operating Officer, Cincinnati Reds at the Press Conference for the 4th Annual Skyline Chili Reds Futures High School Showcase. (Photo by Tony Tribble)

Tony Tribble

CINCINNATI — Pete Muehlenkamp was feeling a little neglected. Maybe not personally, but when it came to his favorite sport — baseball — the head coach at Reading High School thought there was no reason the Cincinnati area shouldn’t have a showcase event for its high school teams and players the same way football has, or that numerous basketball teams from around the area get to participate in each season.

"Quite frankly, he was right," said Tom Gamble.

Gamble knows a thing or two about high school sports. When it comes to putting on a showcase event, there aren’t many better than Gamble, whose company In-Game Sports has been a driving force behind the annual Skyline Crosstown Showdown football festival. So Muehlenkamp called Gamble. The area coaches’ association had been running a showcase event over the years but it needed an infusion of support.

From that phone conversation a few years ago the Skyline Chili Reds Futures High School Showcase was born.

The schedule for the fourth annual event was announced Tuesday afternoon at the Reds’ P&G Cincinnati MLB Urban Youth Academy in Roselawn. Seventy area teams in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky will participate in this year’s 35-game showcase. Opening Day is March 28, the first day teams in Ohio are allowed to begin playing games, and will feature five games at the academy.

2015 Skyline Chili Reds Futures High School Showcase

Date Time Teams Location
Saturday, March 28 11 a.m. Bethel-Tate vs. Reading P&G Cincinnati MLB Urban Youth Academy, Field #1
Saturday, March 28 12:30 p.m. Clark Montessori vs. Woodward P&G Cincinnati MLB Urban Youth Academy, Field #3
Saturday, March 28 1:30 p.m. Taylor vs Walnut Hills P&G Cincinnati MLB Urban Youth Academy, Field #1
Saturday, March 28 3 p.m. Boone County vs. St. Henry P&G Cincinnati MLB Urban Youth Academy, Field #3
Saturday, March 28 4 p.m. Hughes vs. Mt. Healthy P&G Cincinnati MLB Urban Youth Academy, Field #1
Monday, March 30 4:30 p.m. Beechwood vs. Newport Central Catholic Univ. of Cincinnati’s Marge Schott Stadium
Monday, March 30 7 p.m. Covington Catholic vs. Simon Kenton Univ. of Cincinnati’s Marge Schott Stadium
Tuesday, March 31 4:30 p.m. Holy Cross vs. Scott Scott High School
Tuesday, March 31 6:30 p.m. Bishop Brossart vs. Walton-Verona Scott High School
Wednesday, April 1 5 p.m. Conner vs. Dixie Heights Dixie heights High School
Wednesday, April 1 7 p.m. Blanchester vs. Clermont Northeastern Midland Field
Thursday, April 2 7 p.m. Amelia vs. Glen Este Midland Field
Monday, April 6 4:30 p.m. Kings vs. Turpin Xavier University’s Hayden Field
Monday, April 6 4:30 p.m. Northwest vs. Ross Crosley Field, Blue Ash
Monday, April 6 7 p.m. Madeira vs. Wyoming Crosley Field, Blue Ash
Thursday, April 9 4:30 p.m. Mariemont vs. Purcell Marian P&G Cincinnati MLB Urban Youth Academy
Friday, April 10 4:30 p.m. Loveland vs. Milford Milford High School
Saturday, April 11 7 p.m. Lebanon vs. Western Hills Western Hills High School
Monday, April 13 4:30 p.m. La Salle vs. Moeller Prasco Park, Mason
Monday, April 13 7 p.m. Elder vs. St. Xavier Prasco Park, Mason
Monday, April 13 4:30 p.m. Harrison vs. Talawanda Univ. of Cincinnati’s Marge Schott Stadium
Monday, April 13 7 p.m. Hamilton Badin vs. McNicholas Univ. of Cincinnati’s Marge Schott Stadium
Tuesday, April 14 5 p.m. Anderson vs. Oak Hills Oak Hills High School
Wednesday, April 15 4:30 p.m. Middletown vs. Sycamore Prasco Park, Mason
Wednesday, April 15 7 p.m. Colerain vs. Fairfield Prasco Park, Mason
Thursday, April 16 4:30 p.m. Hamilton vs. Miamisburg Prasco Park, Mason
Thursday, April 16 7 p.m. Cincinnati Christian vs. Summit Country Day Prasco Park, Mason
Friday, April 17 4:30 p.m. Lakota West vs. Princeton Prasco Park, Mason
Friday, April 17 7 p.m. Lakota East vs. Mason Prasco Park, Mason
Friday, April 17 5 p.m. Calvary Christian vs. Ludlow Ludlow High School
Monday, April 20 4:30 p.m. Bishop Fenwick vs. Roger Bacon Univ. of Cincinnati’s Marge Schott Stadium
Monday, April 20 7 p.m. Batavia vs. New Richmond Univ. of Cincinnati’s Marge Schott Stadium
Wednesday, April 22 4:30 p.m. Cooper vs. Ryle Thomas More College
Thursday, April 23 4:30 p.m. Campbell County vs. Highlands Thomas More College
Friday, April 24 7 p.m. Cincinnati Country Day vs. Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy Crosley Field, Blue Ash

Muehlenkamp’s Reading team is scheduled to play Bethel-Tate at 11 a.m. in the showcase’s first game.

"We needed to take it to a different level," said Muehlenkamp. "He called the Cincinnati Reds and this is where we are today. This has come a long way. From the coaches that were with me 10 years ago, 15 years ago, we’re very proud to be a part of this.

"The Reds have embraced the area, and not just the product on the field. There isn’t a lot of organizations that aren’t just focused on the product. They go well beyond their product and this is evidence."

The games will be played through April 24.

Skyline Reds Futures Showcase press conference

Tickets for the games are $5 and are good for all games on that day. Each ticket includes a voucher good for a free View Level ticket to one of several Reds home games this season as well as a free Skyline Coney.

All 70 teams will be involved in a pre-game parade at Great American Ball Park on April 26 before the 1:10 p.m. Reds vs. Chicago Cubs game. An MVP from each game will also be recognized during pre-game ceremonies.

The University of Cincinnati’s Marge Schott Stadium, Xavier University’s Hayden Field, Thomas More College in Northern Kentucky, Prasco Park in Mason and Crosley Field in Blue Ash are among the the other venues for games besides the Urban Youth Academy.

The Reds Community Fund began offering fall and winter Academy curriculums in 2009. The current 33,000-foot complex opened last year as part of MLB’s initiative to grow the sports of baseball and softball by offering athletic and educational opportunities in association with the Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) program, although its outreach extends throughout the area. It is one of four urban academies run by MLB in the United States of America; the original academy in Compton, Calif., was built in 2006, while there are also academies in New Orleans and Houston.

"I will tell you the league, having had a lot of representatives come and see it now, they put it up there as the best one in the mix so far and it becomes the model for teams, especially the cold market teams," said Reds COO Phil Castellini. "We are all after the same thing and it’s a great way to work together. A lot of these coaches work their tails off all year and don’t get recognized by all that many folks so to get them out there and get a little spotlight on these coaches and the work they do with our kids is amazing. We’re excited to be a part of that."