Goss: Joliet Slammers keep local look
May 3, 2012 8:12PM
Brad Netzel, of the Joliet Slammers. | File photo
Updated: June 5, 2012 11:33AM
The Joliet Slammers of 2011 forever will be remembered as the team that won the Frontier League championship in its first year of existence.
The Slammers also will be known as a team that cared about putting local talent on the field.
The Slammers have begun their 2012 spring training at Silver Cross Field and, in fact, will entertain the Normal Cornbelters in a preseason game at 2 p.m. Sunday. The other opportunity to see Joliet play at home before the regular season begins is a 7 p.m. May 14 game against the expansion Schaumburg Boomers.
The word from Slammers’ front office personnel is they truly believe this year’s team will be better than last year’s. Of course, that’s always relative. Much of their success will depend on how much the rest of the league improves.
Last year, the Slammers roster featured pitchers Ryan Quigley (Joliet Catholic), Billy Petrick (Morris) and Andrew Moss, who pitched three years of high school ball at Minooka before moving to Missouri. Josh Flores (Lincoln-Way Central) was a standout outfielder and shortstop Brad Netzel played his college ball at University of St. Francis.
Of the 35 players on the Slammers spring roster, 18 were with the team last year and 17 are new. Moss and Netzel are back, as is pitching coach Carmen Pignatiello, the former Providence All-Stater who reached the major leagues with the Cubs. Seth Hobbs, a right-handed relief pitcher from Seneca and Ball State, and Trevor Willis, an outfielder from Lockport and Iowa, have been added.
Did you know Willis won a Division I Gold Glove for his work in center field as a Hawkeyes senior in 2011? He will be fun to watch roam the Silver Cross outfield.
Several of the players in camp, of course, will not be on the Opening Day roster. No matter who makes the cut, it is easy to understand the optimism that surrounds returning manager Bart Zeller’s team.
Right place, right time
Talk about being in the right place at the right time. Joliet’s own Mark Carlson was the umpire behind the plate Wednesday night when Los Angeles Angels right-hander Jered Weaver threw a no-hitter in a 9-0 victory over the Minnesota Twins. Weaver allowed two baserunners, one on a passed ball in the second inning and the other on a walk in the seventh.
Jaguars draft Pendleton
Kudos to former Joliet Junior College defensive tackle Jeris Pendleton, who was selected out of Ashland University (Ohio) in last week’s NFL draft. The Jacksonville Jaguars made the 325-pound Pendleton the 228th overall pick in the seventh round.
Pendleton came to Joliet Junior College six years after graduating from Dunbar. He was a Midwest Football Conference East Division first-team selection at JJC in 2008 and a second-team pick in 2009. He also was a first-team All-Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference choice in 2011 at Ashland.
Joliet Pride tryouts
Joliet West boys basketball coach Luke Yaklich’s Joliet Pride travel team gets things rolling Sunday.
Boys in grades 3 to 5 will have tryouts at Joliet West from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. with a parents meeting at 4:30. Boys in grades 6 and 7 will have tryouts from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. with a parents meeting at 7:30.
A second tryout is scheduled Wednesday at Joliet West, from 5 to 6:30 p.m. for boys in grades 3 to 5 and from 6:30 to 8 p.m. for boys in grades 6 and 7. There is no charge to try out. For information, visit www.
jolietpridebasketball.org or email email@example.com
Ball & Chain camp
Artis Welch, 41, was a basketball standout at St. Anne, Kankakee Community College and Bemidji State and played overseas. He recently moved to Lockport and wants to further his major interests.
“I love working with people with disabilities and also with kids,” he said. “I’ve been working recently with a tough group of kids.”
Welch sees basketball as a means to help direct kids on a positive path. To that end, he has arranged what he terms the “Ball & Chain Basketball Summer Day Camp” at Hartman Recreation Center.
The camp, with a 10-to-1 camper-to-staff ratio, will be in two sessions on four consecutive Sundays beginning June 3. One session is for players ages 8 to 12 and the other is for those 13 to 17.
Instruction, a snack break and guest speakers Welch knows from international basketball will be included. Each Sunday will conclude with a series of full-court scrimmages.
Preregistration by May 14 is $185 for all four dates, $55 for each day. Registration through the first day of camp is $200 for all four dates, $60 for each. For information, contact Welch at (815) 582-6426 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.