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Prep teams to use wood bats at Urban Youth Academy Easter Classic
Twenty-four Los Angeles high school baseball teams will use wood bats exclusively in the 1st annual Dennis Gilbert MLB UYA Easter Classic tournament, March 26-April 3, at the Major League Baseball Urban Youth Academy in Compton and at various school fields.
Participating in the event will be the following schools: Bell, Belmont, Contreras LC, Eagle Rock, Elizabeth LC, Fairfax, Franklin, Fremont, Fulton Prep, Gardena, Lincoln, Los Angeles, Hamilton, Hollywood, LACES, Locke, Marshall, Monroe, North Hollywood, Port of LA, Roybal LC, SOCES, Venice and Washington.
Each school is guaranteed at least four games in a round-robin format. Preliminary round games will be played Friday, March 26, beginning at 2 p.m., Saturday, March 27, starting at 9 a.m., and Monday, March 29 and Tuesday, March 30, beginning at 10 a.m. The quarterfinals are Wednesday, March 31, at a time TBD. The semifinals will be played Friday, April 2, starting at 11 a.m., and the championship game is Saturday, April 3 at 10 a.m. There will be no games Sunday, March 28 or Thursday, April 1. The vast majority of games will be played at the MLB UYA, but some will be played at Bell, Hollywood, Monroe, Roybal and West Adams high schools.
Gilbert played baseball at Gardena High School, Los Angeles City College and for four years in the minor leagues before launching a highly successful career in the insurance business and as a sports agent. He is chairman and founder of the Professional Baseball Scouts Foundation, which provides financial assistance to former baseball scouts in need.
Gilbert also personally funded the inner-city baseball diamond at Los Angeles, Southwest Community College, home to the local program of Reviving Baseball in the Inner Cities (RBI). He serves on Major League Baseball's Salary Arbitration and Player Development committees, is special assistant to Chicago White Sox Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, and is an active board member and supporter of the MLB Urban Youth Academy.
"We are delighted that the MLB Urban Youth Academy will play host to this exciting new event," said Jimmie Lee Solomon, Executive Vice President, Baseball Operations, and Major League Baseball. "It is a great opportunity for these high school players to gain valuable experience in an outstanding setting at the Academy."
"We are very gratified that the Major League Baseball Urban Youth Academy and these Los Angeles high schools were receptive to this wonderful event that will provide a unique opportunity for hundreds of high school athletes," Gilbert said.
"We wanted the players to use wood bats because that is what they use in the big leagues. Most of the players at the Academy have aspirations to play pro ball, so we thought they should get a feel for that experience."