A first pitch bigger than the game: the inaugural JAX Diamond Classic
On Thursday, January 28th, the Jacksonville, FL media and related outlets (via Zoom, as we are among those attending the press conference) come together to discuss the grand old game, baseball. While involving the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp (the AA affiliate of the Miami Marlins), the conversation is on a special series taking place March 22, 2021, just prior to the scheduled start of the minor league season.
It's the inaugural JAX Diamond Classic, as it's more than just a game.
HBCU's (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) Edward Waters College (based in Jacksonville, FL) and Savannah State University (based in Savannah, GA) are taking their baseball rivalry to 121 Financial Ballpark (located at 301 A Phillip Randolph Blvd in Jacksonville, FL). The Tigers (of Edward Waters College) are led by head coach Reginald Johnson II; entering his 10th season, his teams have compiled a 231-191-1 overall record, including the 2015 Gulf Coast Athletic Conference Regular Season Championship. Since 2006, the Tigers (of Savannah State University) have been led by head coach Carlton Hardy. The 2013 MEAC (Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference) Coach of the Year directed the team to earning a Regular Season Co-Championship.
Both sets of Tigers are not only excited to renew their rivalry, but thanks to the organization of BGSC360 (click HERE to visit their website) and their leadership team led by Prentiss Hill, and hosted by the Jumbo Shrimp, it is shaping up to being a key event not only for the baseball community, but the greater Jacksonville, FL community.
With their strategic planning focused on representing the HBCU community, the game is the main attraction to draw additional support for the larger education and employment related resources provided. Complete with an interactive college and job fair, students and the greater community gain immediate access and engagement to a wealth of opportunities. Aligned with related programming, the nonprofit serves a vital role regarding PK-12 and higher education spaces.
Jumbo Shrimp executive vice-president and general manager Harold Craw notes, "We are excited and honored to host the JAX Diamond Classic".
A portion of the proceeds will be donated to both institutions of higher learning dedicated to the United Negro College Fund and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. Likewise, a portion of the proceeds will be donated to support college prep and scholarship-related initiatives.
Tickets for the event available now (click HERE for information), as the 1st pitch is scheduled for 6pm EST (on March 22nd).
Two teams steeped in tradition playing at one of the outstanding venues in AA and the minor leagues. Combined with a community focus and you have an inaugural event that truly is bigger than just the game.
And this year is the first pitch of things to come.