Keep an Eye on White Sox ACE product Ro Coleman and Vandy in College World Series
Friday, June 20, 2014
White Sox vs. Twins at Target Field (7:10 p.m., CT, CSN). Starters: RHP Hector Noesi (2-5, 5.37) for the Sox, RHP Ricky Nolasco (4-5, 5.66) for Minnesota.
Sox Starting Lineup: Eaton CF, Beckham 2B, Gillaspie 3B, Abreu 1B, Dunn DH, Ramirez SS, Viciedo RF, De Aza LF, Flowers C.
The White Sox Amateur City Elite (ACE) program got a huge boost this season with two of its products, Vanderbilt’s Ro Coleman and Louisville’s Corey Ray (both pictured above), making it to the College World Series with their respective teams. What makes it an even better story is that freshman outfielders Coleman and Ray are also close friends and former teammates at Simeon Career Academy.
While Louisville has been eliminated, Vandy is still very much alive and undefeated in the double-elimination tournament going into their game today with the University of Texas.
“It’s kind of surreal, like I’m actually living a dream.” Coleman told MLB.com. “Just a wonderful experience and I’m blessed to be here.”
Since its inception in 2007, the ACE program for inner-city youngsters has had numerous alumni drafted by professional teams with 85 players receiving athletic aid to play collegiate baseball. Last year’s graduating class included 13 players committed to collegiate institutions during the early signing period.
Three ACE players were drafted during the 2014 First-Year Player Draft–Darius Day by the Rangers and Anthony Justiniano and James Davison by the Sox. Davison, a Morgan Park High School grad, has chosen to postpone his pro career and attend Howard College in Big Spring, Tex. on an athletic scholarship (see story below).
Kevin Coe, the White Sox director of youth baseball initiatives who coached Coleman and Ray, traveled to Omaha with a group of about 50 current ACE players with the hope they could also make it some day to college baseball’s mecca.
“The kids really loved the trip. They were able to see in Ro and Corey, kids just like them, that if you dream and work toward a goal, you can make it happen,” Coe said. “During the trip, one of the 12-year-olds in our program came up to me, shook my hand and said, ‘Coach, I want to thank you for bringing us here. Now I know what all the work is for and what I’m working toward.’ And, of course, their parents were so grateful that their youngsters could experience all of it.”
Coe also talked about how Ray came by, spent time with the young players, talked to them individually and took pictures.
“This was what we set out to do at the beginning of the program–to teach them the fundamentals at a young age so when they get older, they’ll be prepared to do what Ro and Corey have done. This was just proof that we’re doing the right things.”
“We really could not be more proud of these two kids (Coleman and Ray),” White Sox general manager Rick Hahn told MLB.com. “They’ve literally grown up as teammates in the White Sox ACE program, and to see them excel at the college level in their freshman seasons speaks to their skills, their work ethic and the baseball fundamentals taught to our ACE kids by our staff and coaches.”
More on James Davison
Plays of the Day
Jose Quintana rebounded from his subpar last start, allowing just two runs, six hits and a walk while striking out a half-dozen batters in last night’s loss to the Twins…Conor Gillaspie drove in a pair of runs with a single.
Sale Punks Carroll
Chicago White Sox Charities and the White Sox Wives will host the second annual variety show event, “Wild Pitches,” on Sunday, July 20 at Bub City in Chicago.
The evening of comedy, music and entertainment will be hosted by Chicago standup comedian Pat McGann and feature live music by the Rendition Band. The event also includes both live and silent auction packages.
In addition to last year’s star performers, Paul and Jennifer Konerko, participants will include Brittany and Gordon Beckham, John Danks and his wife, country singer Ashley Monroe, Katie and Adam Eaton, Nancy and Tyler Flowers and Lacy and Nate Jones. Manager Robin Ventura and his wife Stephanie also are participating. Tickets are available at whitesoxcharities.org.
Quote of the Day
Sox reliever Nate Jones has made enough progress in his rehab from micro discectomy surgery to correct back issues leading to hip pain that he’s traveling with the team on the current road trip. While there’s no timetable for his return, he feels optimistic.
“I feel part of the team again, getting to watch the team on the field instead of on TV. So that’s pretty awesome. I’m glad to get to this point because it means I’m throwing.
“We’re getting closer, that’s for sure. I’m still increasing my workload and the amount of new things I’m doing. So it’s really day to day. Increasing my exercises and see how I react the next day. If all goes good, we’re going to increase the workload.”
White Sox vs. Twins at Target Field (1:10 p.m., CT, WGN). Starters: RHP Andre Rienzo (4-4, 5.67) for the Sox, RHP Kevin Correia (3-8, 5.29) for Minny.
Photo of the Day
Eaton has reached base safely in 14 consecutive games, hitting .327 with a .413 on-base percentage during that stretch. Over his last 11 games, he is batting .372 with six walks and a .449 on-base percentage.