Monroe Central to play at PNC Park

The Monroe Central Seminoles baseball team received an opportunity that many high school teams can only dream about.

Head Coach Ryan Rosnick was eating lunch at school Monday when he received a text message from Pittsburgh Pirates employee Nick McNeill, whom he had gotten to know through his brother and several other mutual friends.

Totally out of the blue, McNeill was quizzing Rosnick about the Seminoles’ schedule for the week.

“He asked me if we played Friday and responded, ‘no, we played Thursday and have a doubleheader on Saturday,'” Rosnick said.

McNeill then invited the Seminoles to play Friday afternoon at 3 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh against Shenango, which is located near New Castle, Pa.

“I stood up and had to leave the room,” Rosnick said. “I had to read (the text) three times to make sure it really said that.”

Rosnick quickly accepted the invitation, completely indifferent as to the opponent, logistics or anything else.

“This is just a once-in-a-lifetime chance for these kids,” Rosnick said. “We’re going to relish and enjoy it.”

The game will be played under a strict two-hour time limit.

“I am not sure how good that team is, but I don’t really care because this is just an unreal opportunity for our kids,” Rosnick said.

Later this month, the Seminoles will return to Pennsylvania to play at Consol Energy Park.

“I would have never believed it if you told me we’d playing at a game at both Consol Energy and PNC Park this season,” Rosnick said.

Rosnick kept the schedule change a secret from his players until their scheduled game at Frontier got rained out as they were en route to Beaverton.

Once the Seminoles got back to Woodsfield, Rosnick had all of the players come to his classroom.

“I wrote the schedule for the week up on the board,” Rosnick said. “I wrote TBA on Friday.”

He explained they’d practice today, play on Wednesday and Thursday and head to Martins Ferry on Saturday.

Then the big announcement about what’s going to happen on Friday.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen eyes of our kids get to so big,” Rosnick said. “A few guys just lit up and some thought I was joking. I had to assure them I wouldn’t joke about something like this.”

Though the 3 o’clock start time in Pittsburgh isn’t the most ideal time for parents and fans, Rosnick expects the Seminoles to be well-represented.

“We normally get a good following for baseball,” Rosnick said. “Knowing this early in the week should help us get a good showing up there.”

Rosnick and his coaching staff have already began thinking about who they’re going to give the ball to on Friday.

“Obviously, the dimensions of PNC Park are much different than what we’re used to, so we’re trying to decide the best route to take pitching wise,” Rosnick said. “

Each team is required to bring two umpires as well. Rosnick contacted Kerry Langsdorf, who does the assigning for the Seminoles.

“Kerry said he’d be there and he’d bring someone with him, so that’s taken care of,” Rosnick said.

The OHSAA permits 27 games in 27 playing days and because the weather has played havoc thus far, the addition to the schedule won’t affect the Seminoles.

“We’ve had a few games canceled (due to the weather), and I am not sure all of the non-league games are going to get made up, so that allowed us to play,” Rosnick said.

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