SAUGET - Although the Illinois High School Association spring sports season was cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the high school teams of both Edwardsville and Granite City will be playing against each other after all.
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The Tigers and Warriors will go up against each other in a non-sanctioned game at GCS Ballpark, the home of the Gateway Grizzlies minor league ballclub, on Monday night, with first pitch coming at 7:35 p.m.
It'll be the first game to be played at GCS ballpark after the announcement that the Frontier League, the Class A-level league that the Grizzlies play in, would suspend the 2020 season because of the worldwide pandemic. The league hasn't yet cancelled its season, but are still exploring options if the season can be played. An opening date or schedule has not yet been announced.
The game will be played by the current Tiger and Warrior players, and will not be sanctioned by the IHSA, but according to organizers, will have music and other promotions involved in the game.
The ballpark is set to open at 6:30 p.m, with a pregame ceremonies set for 7 p.m. Jim Greenwald, retiring superintendent of the Granite City Community Unit District number 9 and a former baseball standout for the Warriors.
"John Mead (Granite City High School athletic director) gave me a call, and told me about that game," Greenwald said during an interview, "and asked me if I was free. I called Mr. (Jim) Cromer (one of the organizers), asked me if I could offer my services, and before 7:30, I'll be on the mound throwing out the first pitch."
Greenwald had a very distinguished baseball career with the Warriors. In his senior year in 1970, he played on the Warrior team that finished fourth in the IHSA state finals at Peoria, then accepted a baseball scholarship to SIU-Edwardsville, where he played for legendary coach Roy Lee. After stints in both the Minnesota Twins and Philadelphia Phillies' organizations, Greenwald played for the Sauget Wizards of the old Mon-Clair League, one of the oldest amateur baseball leagues in the area. He played in eight league All-Star Games, twice being named MVP, and played on two championship teams for the Wizards.
Greenwald played for the Wizards until he was 40, and is currently a member of the Granite City Sports Hall of Fame, the Mon-Clair League Hall of Fame, and most importantly, the St. Louis Amateur Baseball Hall of Fame, in which the players plaques and biographies are on display at Busch Stadium.
To top everything off, Greenwald served as the public address announcer for the Grizzlies in their inaugural year of 2001. The job is currently held by long-time St. Louis Blues public address announcer Tom Calhoun.
"I'm very honored to be asked, and it's a real privilege," Greenwald said, "as I was the first announcer when the Grizzlies opened the ballpark."
Tickets are $8, and are available through walk-up only the night of the game. ''
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