The field for this year's Parkview Sports Medicine High School Baseball Series, revealed Wednesday, includes Northrop, and when coach Matt Brumbaugh informed his players, their reaction underscored why this annual event is taking hold.
"They're excited they get to come play at the premier field (Parkview Field) in the Midwest, highly rated every year, and the TinCaps do a great job of promoting it for us, and Parkview Sports Medicine of helping us out by sponsoring it and paying for us to come play here," Brumbaugh said. "It's a great honor to be on the field."
The series is entering its fourth year and will feature six doubleheaders in April and May featuring 24 schools from northeast Indiana and northwest Ohio. All games are televised on Comcast Network 81 and broadcast on 106.7 FM.
"When we've had some opportunity since the first year of the ballpark (2009) to have some level of amateur athletics play on the field, that's a really big part of Parkview Field opening is having it be a part of the community, not just TinCaps games," TinCaps vice president of marketing Michael Limmer said. "Being able to have 12 games over the course of six doubleheaders is very important to us. This allows us to cycle through the 44-plus high schools that are in this region over the course of two or three years.
"That's a really big deal to us to be able to give the opportunity to all the schools."
Northrop faces Snider on April 24, the first day of the series, following New Haven's game against South Adams.
The rest of the matchups: Whitko vs. Columbia City and Huntington North vs. East Noble on April 25, Blackhawk Christian vs. Lakewood Park Christian and Heritage vs. Woodlan on May 2, Concordia vs. Wayne and Angola vs. Lakeland on May 3, Antwerp vs. Wayne Trace and Manchester vs. Southwood on May 4, and Bishop Dwenger vs. Bishop Luers and North Side vs. South Side on May 5.
All doubleheaders begin at 4:30 p.m.
The games are fundraisers for the participating schools. For every $5 ticket sold, $4 goes to the schools and $1 goes into the Parkview Field Ballpark Maintenance and Improvement Fund.
"The schools do a tremendous job at getting the word out that they're playing at Parkview Field," Limmer said. "It's not an every-year thing for these schools, and it's a fundraiser for them. Any tickets our ticket office sells on the day of the game gets split between the four schools that are playing that day. Some schools are able to sell 800, 1,000, 1,200 tickets, and that's a big deal for these athletic departments, whether it goes all to the baseball program or to the athletic department as a whole."
Columbia City coach Nathan Long is excited to try to bring support down to Fort Wayne with the Eagles.
"We're going to push real hard, try to get all 1,000 tickets sold," Long said. "I want our community to be involved. Our basketball program is the star of our area, so to get our community more involved in the baseball program would be great for the players."
Brumbaugh said the high school games at Parkview Field help boost prep baseball throughout the region.
"Bigger crowds than we're used to," Brumbaugh said. "Baseball in this area is huge. Amateur baseball, people like to come out and watch games, and it's not just the student bodies or parents. It's people in general who like to come out and watch good games. Twelve games is an opportunity to come out and see some good players, some guys who are going to go play college ball and hopefully some day get a chance to come back and play at (Parkview Field)."