COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Players from the Cincinnati Reds organization made a stop in central Ohio Friday, one of many stops the organization will make through Sunday as part of the Reds Caravan.
More than five hundred students at Heritage Middle School in Newark attended an assembly to ask questions and take pictures with players.
Heritage Middle School Principal Nolan Sadler said the school first submitted an online request for the Reds to visit a year or two ago after learning that players had stopped at other schools on the Reds Caravan.
This year, he heard back from the team.
“I got a phone call, I want to say mid-December, from the Reds, saying that we were in the running,” Sadler said.
On Friday, players came for a visit.
“To get the opportunity to interact with these professional athletes and hear the message from them, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so I was really excited for our kids,” Sadler said.
Scooter Gennett, who plays second base, and Sal Romano, a pitcher, were among the players who attended the assembly.
“It’s pretty special,” Romano said. “This is like my fourth year doing this. It’s always a good time to kick-start the season.”
As part of the Reds Caravan, players split into four different groups and travel all over “Reds Country,” going as far north as Lima, south to Nashville, west to Evansville, Indiana, and east to Charleston, W.Va.
“The kids are most important. They’re on the top of the priority list, obviously,” Gennett said. “Being here is an amazing opportunity to make an impact.”
Students were selected to ask questions of the players, including what they like to do outside of baseball and what advice they would give to students who play baseball or softball for the school.
Syncere Royster, an eighth-grader and lifelong Reds fan, asked about the difficulty of spring training.
“When I get older, I want to play college softball, so I want to prepare myself for any training and conditioning when we play,” Royster said.
Royster said she was also inspired by some of the life lessons the players offered, such as “when Scooter said to always be kind to people.”