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Bennett Classic at Branch Rickey Park June 13-16

PORTSMOUTH — The 4th Annual Gene Bennett Baseball Classic (GBBC) sponsored by Shawnee State University is scheduled for Thursday, June 13 through Sunday, June 16.

Bennett is a Scioto County native who became the Cincinnati Reds second longest tenured employee as scouting supervisor for Ohio, Kentucky, Michigan and Indiana.

He signed many notable players including Don Gullett, Barry Larkin, Paul O’Neill, Jeff Russell, Chris Sabo and longtime Major Leaguers Charlie Leibrandt and Dave Tomlin.

During his tenure, Bennett received the Topps Scout of the Month 12 times, and the Topps All-Star Scout award in 1988. In 1992, he was elected to the Ohio Sports Hall of Fame.

After retirement in 1996, Bennett was elected to the Middle Atlantic Major League Baseball Scouts Hall of Fame. He was the first person elected to the Wheelersburg High School Athletics Hall of Fame in 2001 where he lives.

Two divisions with six teams each will be competing for the championship, the Al Oliver Division and the Don Gullett Division.

The games will be played at Branch Rickey Park, Portsmouth High School Hatcher Field, Portsmouth West High School and Wheelersburg High School.

The Al Oliver Division includes the Kentucky Baseball Club 16, Midland Redskins, Ohio Yankees, Dayton Classics, Springfield Armaloy and Midwest Pelicans. Don Gullet Division includes the Huntington Hounds, Bullet Proof Baseball, Portsmouth Post 23, Kentucky Colonels, Kentucky Baseball Club 17 and the Ohio Warhawks.

The GBBC tournament is designed to elevate and inspire youth, promote community development, and bring baseball back to the Southern Ohio region.

The final championship game is at 1 p.m. Sunday at Branch Rickey Park. Admission is free to all the games. Opening ceremonies are scheduled at 6 p.m. on Thursday, June 13, at Branch Rickey Park. The last game for the championship between the two finalists begins at 1 p.m. on Sunday, June 16.

For a complete schedule of games and directions to the fields, visit the website at http://gbbc.shawnee.edu. For more information, contact Ted Tom, tournament director, at (740) 503-9892.