Local Cincy kids enjoying Jr. RBI experience

Local Cincy kids enjoying Jr. RBI experience

CINCINNATI -- Some of the Jr. RBI Classic participating teams had to travel thousands of miles to get to Cincinnati, but for a pair of teams, it didn't take more than a five-minute drive.

The Queen City has been well represented in both the baseball and softball side of the seventh annual Jr. RBI Classic by the Cincinnati Reds RBI. While the hometown team didn't get the luxury of experiencing a new area for the tournament like the others, players have been grateful for the opportunity.

"I've had a lot of fun," said Noah Sears of Cincinnati Reds RBI. "We are doing a lot of fun things, and I've liked experiencing this fun time."

Despite living within driving distance to their games, the players have been treated like all of the other teams. That includes staying with the other kids in dorms at Xavier University.

"It's really cool how we get to stay at Xavier rather than staying at home and then coming to the fields to play games, then going home," said Colin Sorensen of Cincinnati Reds RBI. "So you get to hang out with the teams and get to know them better."

The friendly tournament has offered a number of different activities for the players in addition to their games. The players have already gone to the T-Mobile All-Star FanFest and participated in a community service event at The Giving Fields.

The fun activities will continue up until Monday evening, when the participants will attend the Gillette Home Run Derby presented by Head & Shoulders.

A number of players have mentioned their anticipation for the Home Run Derby, including Nijel Davis. The first baseman and third baseman on Cincinnati Reds RBI said he is excited to watch Reds third baseman Todd Frazier compete in the Derby in person.

"I'm looking forward to going to the Home Run Derby," Davis said. "And we still have two more games [Monday], and I like playing against the other teams."

Sully Peter also pointed to the Home Run Derby as a highlight of the event, and he's excited about having a chance to shag balls during the event.

"The Home Run Derby is going to be awesome," Peter said. "To shag balls in the outfield -- I think it's just going to be a great time."

Being from Cincinnati has created a situation where the players are also like hosts for the event. Sorensen and the rest of the players on Cincinnati Reds RBI are used to playing in the top notch facilities at P&G Cincinnati MLB Urban Youth Academy, but he said he's noticed the other players being "wowed" by playing there.

"They've been sort of wowed by the turf fields, the turf indoor facility, batting cages, all of that stuff," Sorensen said. "It's crazy."

Robert Bondy is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.