On June 6, the Reds Community Fund hosted its second annual Signing Day event for high school seniors at the Reds Hall of Fame Theater at Great American Ball Park.The ceremony honored 14 local high school student-athletes who have trained at P&G Cincinnati Reds Youth Academy and played for the
On June 6, the Reds Community Fund hosted its second annual Signing Day event for high school seniors at the Reds Hall of Fame Theater at Great American Ball Park.
The ceremony honored 14 local high school student-athletes who have trained at P&G Cincinnati Reds Youth Academy and played for the Reds RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities) baseball and softball teams.
This select group has signed letters of intent to play baseball or softball at the college level:
Hallie Crawford, Muskingum College (Lakota East)
Mackenzie Meyer, Cincinnati Christian University (Ross)
Haley Grau, Capital University (Ross)
Alyssa Dixon, University of the Cumberlands (Highlands KY)
Kylie Hagl, Miami University Hamilton (Colerain)
Mikala Duncan-Wolf, Wilmington College (Lebanon)
Bethany Kolbinsky, Miami University Hamilton (Colerain)
Justin Hilton, Kentucky Christian University (Princeton)
Brian Zix, Urbana University (Moeller)
Benjamin Sharp, Urbana University (Moeller)
Grant Lohmeier, Union College (Princeton)
Lawrence Hines, Wright State University -- Lake (Colerain)
Kyandrey Davis, Wright State University -- Lake (Withrow)
Justin Donovan, Urbana University (Elder)
Two of the seniors, Julie Kramer and Justin Hilton, each received $2,500 college scholarships from the Reds Community Fund.
Hilton reflected on the significance of realizing his goal to play baseball in college.
"Never to give up on my dreams and always pursue my dreams," said Hilton, who will play for Kentucky Christian University. "I wanted to become a college baseball player or professional baseball player, and I put in the work and all the hard work paid off. And now I am here today signing to play college baseball. Not a lot of kids my age get to play baseball or play any kind of sport at the next level. I'm just thankful to God and everyone else who helped me along the way."
Reds pitcher Michael Lorenzen was a special guest and had words of encouragement for the seniors.
"You guys are going to go through tons of ups and tons of downs," said Lorenzen, who played baseball at Cal State Fullerton before being drafted by the Reds in 2013. "Trying to manage time in college with doing sports and going to school, it's tough. But the most important thing and the one thing you can control is your perspective. You can always look at the negative side of things and dwell on those or there's always a flip side, a positive perspective in any situation you come to. My advice to you is there's always two sides of the coin. Find the right perspective in how you approach everything that you do."
Signing Day took place the same week as the 2018 MLB Draft, and Reds president of baseball operations Dick Williams stopped by to recognize the signees.
"The impact that the Urban Youth Academy, the RBI Program and the Community Fund and what they're doing for youth baseball in this entire region are so important, because it's keeping kids engaged and it's keeping our numbers up," said Williams. "And you just never know where the next star's going to come from. But watching that Draft board the last couple days and the number of names that came from this region reminded me what a strong baseball group we really have here."
Michael Anderson is the public relations manager for the Cincinnati Reds.