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5 sports items to watch for this week


Meet me in St. Louis: The Reds serve as the home opener opponent for hated, er, heated rival St. Louis Cardinals. Mat Latos (0-0, 4.05 ERA) battles Jaime Garcia (1-0, 1.59) at 4:15 p.m. today at Busch Stadium to open the three-game set. After an off-day Thursday, Cincinnati heads to Pittsburgh for another three-game series with the Pirates.

Fifth Third Festivities: The longest home sell-out streak in professional sports goes to 914 when the Dayton Dragons host their home opener 7:05 p.m. Thursday against the Great Lakes Loons. And when it comes to the Dragons, it’s more than a game. The list of entertainment includes face painters, balloon artists on stilts, jugglers, skydivers and a dove release following the National Anthem. The Boston Red Sox have the second longest active streak and are third overall, entering this season with 791 straight sell-outs. Red Sox officials said they expect their streak to end soon.

Cincinnati Buckeyes?: Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati hosts the Ohio State Buckeyes for its football spring game 1 p.m. Saturday. More than 26,000 tickets have been sold for the full-contact intrasquad scrimmage that wraps up the spring drills. The quarterbacks, including former Wayne High School quarterback and Heisman Trophy candidate Braxton Miller, are off limits to defensive hits. The rosters for the Scarlet and Gray teams will be picked at the end of the week. Can’t make the game? The Big Ten Network will air it 7 p.m. Saturday.

Field of dreams: Some top Miami Valley talent takes the field Friday for the second annual Reds Futures High School Showcase. The event features some of the top high school baseball programs from Greater Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky and Southeastern Indiana. Matchups in Friday’s games at Mason’s Prasco Park are Lakota West vs. Princeton at 5 p.m., Lakota East vs. Mason at 7 p.m. and Fairfield vs. Middleton at 7:30 p.m. Mason (6-0), Lakota East and Fairfield (both 4-0) are a combined 14-0 entering this week.

Big E turns 60: Darke County’s Eldora Speedway celebrates 60 dirt-kicking, paint-trading and thrill-raising seasons on Saturday. The track started by the legnedary Earl Baltes and currently owned by NASCAR driver Tony Stewart brings in the Sunoco American Late Model Series, the UMP DIRTcar modifieds and the Eldora stock cars for the opener. Visit www.eldoraspeedway.com for a complete schedule.

— Greg Billing


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