Balls cracking bats and smacking into mitts. Vocal player chatter heard during every at-bat.
It’s the sounds of summer’s pastime, and it’s taking place in Xenia, but do you know about it? Judging by recent attendance at Xenia Scouts home games, more in fact have, but people still need to get the word there’s a great summer entertainment option in the city.
The Scouts and the Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League are a quality game and as good as what could be expected from the collegiate league baseball experience right here in Greene County.
Between-inning musical entertainment has an up-to-date selection and good quality sound. Sketches or competitions don’t take place on any sort of big video board as teams switch sides like at the Cincinnati Reds or Dayton Dragons, but how much are those really missed anyway? If you want to see a baby biting into a lemon, take a peak at your neighbor for a short bit and see if they want to try one from your water. Or maybe you can be the person to sit behind the dugout and try to suck some jello up through a 30-foot straw in the silly sip-off. (I did not get to choose the name when I competed in it once.)
Kids actually have a higher chance of keeping themselves occupied at a Scouts game than in a stadium. Grady’s Field is situated in the middle of the Athletes in Action complex and has several hills and open grass areas in view from the stands to allow kids to run around, toss some ball, and not be tied down to a seat where cotton candy is one of the few options to keep the happiness meter high.
At one point during Tuesday’s game, a foul ball flew over the stands behind home plate and ended up in the hands of a kid who won the chase to track it down. A smile on the young boy’s face was gleaming with joy and his excitement evident of how proud he was of his accomplishment while telling mom afterward.
Smiles aren’t just restricted to folks in the stands, as those on the diamond can’t stop themselves either. It would be difficult to find a more approachable group of players and coaches than what the Scouts present. Gratitude and courtesy are common attributes shown toward people in attendance as players warm up prior to the game.
We’re not talking about a group of guys taking the field looking to glorify their high school days either. These are current college athletes with dreams of making it as far into the next level as possible.
“Darren Brown, our commissioner, has done a really good job,” said Scouts head coach Tim Cole. “He was the commissioner and helped out a lot with the Frontier League, which is independent ball, and then he took over for Great Lakes and that has been huge. He’s done a phenomenal job of promoting it. We’ve got a contract signed with MLB and they’ve really helped promote it as well. So we’re actually in a really elite league for these guys.”
A league that has produced many MLB players, including current Cincinnati Reds pitcher Art Warren, Boston Red Sox and Washington Court House’s own Travis Shaw, as well as some other longtime players like Josh Harrison, Craig Stammen, Beavercreek’s Justin Masterson, David Delucci, and Springfield’s Dave Burba to name a small handful.
At least one player in the GLSCL has been selected in the top-three rounds of the MLB Draft in six of the past seven renditions, including Kevin Merrell going 33rd overall in 2017 from the Scouts and current Seattle Mariner Kyle Lewis being picked 11th in 2015.
And guess what? The best part was saved for last.
It’s free. All you need to attend Xenia Scouts games are some sunscreen and snacks.
The stands are Grady’s Field provide fold out seating with arm rests for those arriving by first pitch or bleacher style sections if you wish to sprawl out more. It’s all under shade either way to enjoy some baseball while taking in out toward the third base line.
Get in the car, ride your bike, grab some ice cream on the way, and stop by the diamond to enjoy some of the sweet sounds of the summer playlist in Greene County’s backyard.
Contact Steven Wright at 937-502-4498 and follow on Twitter @Steven_Wright_.