The Walsh Jesuit baseball team held its ninth annual Showcase for the Cure this month and raised an event-record $40,000, which will go to Ohio State University’s James Medical Center.

The invitation-only event featured 125 of the top area prospects with 60 of the nation’s top college coaches and scouts in attendance.

Walsh coach Chris Kaczmar said the event has raised a total of more than $200,000 in nine years for cancer research toward six different cancer-fighting charities.

This year’s Showcase for the Cure also honored Chad Crawford, who passed away last fall after a battle with sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer.

Instead of players being charged to attend the showcase, which averages about $150 per showcase, Kaczmar asked each attendee to make a donation to cancer research.

Donations also came from a corporate fair.

OSU baseball coach Greg Beals addressed the Showcase for the Cure participants, and encouraged everyone to look ahead to “the next pitch” and “the next challenge.”

Kaczmar also reflected on Crawford “being an inspiration and a loving family man.”

Gary Minorik and Chris Valentine, who is a cancer survivor himself, also played key roles in organizing the event.

“Our incredible team of volunteers gave tirelessly of their time and talent, and were committed to making this year’s showcase one of the most successful to date,” Minorik said. “We are overwhelmed with gratitude to our past sponsors and we were thrilled to have many new patrons step forward this year.”

Norton names coach

Norton Athletic Director Brian Miller announced Aireka Wright has been hired to coach the Norton volleyball team.

Wright is a graduate of Orrville High School and Hiram College. She earned a psychology degree from Hiram in 2010.

She currently works for the East Akron YMCA in the youth department as the teen and sports director where she handles their volleyball program in the area YMCAs.

Wright also was coaching as an assistant at Firestone High School until she accepted this position with Norton. She played on one state title team and another team that reached a state semifinal at Orrville, in addition to competing in basketball and track and field.

She played volleyball her freshman year of college at the University of Akron before transferring to play for Hiram.

Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or Read the high school blog at Follow him on Twitter at and on Facebook at