CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - It was windy, cold, and the usual crack of a bat at Progressive Field was replaced by a “ping,” but it was baseball nonetheless at Progressive Field on Friday. The Hardball Classic, a day of high school baseball games on a big league field, was back. “We are excited to bring back the [Cleveland Indians Charities] Hardball Classic after two years of a hiatus,” said Indians Vice President of Communications Curtis Danburg. “We got rained out two years ago and last year obviously due to COVID. Many of these athletes have been waiting for this day and it’s finally here.”
The first of four games got started at 12:15, Avon Lake took on Kinston. Fairview Park vs Chardon, Bay Village vs Benedictine and St. Edward vs Chagrin Falls were also on the schedule. Tickets were sold at the high schools for $7 each, the money went to Cleveland Indians Charities. CIC supports youth baseball and softball in Cleveland and gives money to programs while providing development in coaching in baseball/softball skills.
Before each game players got introduced like Major Leaguers do on Opening Day. The organ played, the scoreboard was lit up, the concession stands were open for parents. “We’re trying to make this a big league experience as much as possible,” said Danburg. “It’s an opportunity of a lifetime to be on this field, to be where their heroes play. It’s an experience unlike anything else.”
The Hardball Classic is usually an annual event. The Indians hope this marks its return for some time to come.