1. Reds on the road: If the Reds want to keep playing into October, these are the games they need to win. Cincinnati travels to Miami, which is holding on to last place in the NL East, for a three-game series starting Tuesday. The Reds lost three of four to the Marlins in April, getting outscored 25-11. From there it’s three games at Philadelphia and three at the New York Mets. The Marlins, Phillies and Mets are all under .500.
2. Air Strikers back in action: A misunderstanding and/or confusion led to the Central Basketball League releasing the Dayton franchise from its obligations. But they were quickly reinstated after talks. With that the Air Strikers are cleared for take off. Dayton (1-1) travels to take on the River City Panthers (0-5) in Peoria, Ill., at 7 p.m. Saturday. The Air Strikers handed the Panthers a 115-102 loss on May 3 in Dayton.
3. Get in the hole!: The Wittenberg men’s golf team looks to improve on last year’s seventh-place finish in the NCAA Division III national championship when the tournament tees it up starting Tuesday in Destin, Fla. The Tigers, ranked No. 14 in the nation, make their fourth straight tournament appearance. Minster’s Ben Hogenkamp and Springboro’s Sam Geise are key contributors. Hogenkamp has two tournament wins and four top-five finishes this season. Geise finished sixth at the North Coast Athletic Conference championship series to earn All-NCAC first team accolades.
4. Big Bird honored at Shadybowl: Standing 6-foot-4 and weighing 250 pounds, Robbie Dean earned the nickname Big Bird driving his yellow and black No. 94 at Kil-Kare Speedway, Shadybowl Speedway and Columbus Speedway among other tracks. Those three tracks honor the popular driver with the Robbie Dean Memorial Series, a three-race series that starts at Shadybowl on Saturday. The race lasts 94 laps in tribute to Dean’s car number. Columbus hosts its leg on July 6 and Kil-Kare completes the series on Aug. 2. Dean died in 2008 after a battle with cancer. He was 55.
5. First pitch: Will Centerville’s baseball team reach state for the first time since 1928? Can Badin pull off a baseball and softball state title sweep? Those are a few of the storylines as the high school baseball and softball tournaments take off starting today. In baseball, the top-seeded teams from the Miami Valley include Centerville (Division I), Eaton and Tippecanoe (D-II), Badin and Triad (D-III) and Arcanum and Russia (D-IV). Lebanon (D-I), Franklin and Greenville (D-II), Badin and Miami East (D-III) and Southeastern and Covington (D-IV) are the area favorites in softball. Brackets can be found at www.swdab.org and www.ohsaa.org.