Goss: Pitch & Hit Club citing local baseball figures
By Dick Goss firstname.lastname@example.org January 17, 2013 4:30PM
Joliet Junior College Luke Andrade was MVP of the Division III World Series and national Player of the Year for the national champion Wolves. He will be honored at the Pitch & Hit Club of Chicago banquet Jan. 27. | File photo
Updated: February 19, 2013 1:28PM
Wayne King. Luke Andrade. The Joliet Junior College 2012 baseball season.
The kind of stories Hollywood loves.
Recall in the spring, when, on a cold April day, Wolves coach Wayne King earned the 900th victory in his illustrious career. On the flip side, the Wolves rode an up-and-down wave all season. They entered the Region IV Tournament with a 31-28 record and — at least for anyone outside their dugout — not much hope for anything good to happen.
So what did they do? They won the best-of-3 region tourney over Milwaukee Area in story book fashion, escaping 12-11 in Game 3, to qualify for the NJCAA Division III World Series in Tyler, Texas.
They arrived in the Lone Star state with the most losses, by far, of any of the eight qualifiers. Yet they won four straight games, the finale a 6-5, 10-inning roller coaster of emotions. That gave King his third national championship at JJC.
And then, freshman second baseman and tournament MVP Luke Andrade, a Lincoln-Way West graduate who drove in the winning run in the title game, provided the exclamation point when he was selected Division III Player of the Year.
The 67th annual Pitch & Hit Club of Chicago banquet is scheduled for Jan. 27 at The Carlisle in Lombard, 425 E. Butterfield Road. King, who recently lost his beloved dad Wayne Sr., will be honored as Chicago area Amateur Coach of the Year and Andrade will be honored as College Player of the Year.
But that’s not all. Mike Foltynewicz, the former Minooka pitcher and No. 1 draft pick of the Houston Astros, will be cited as Chicago area Minor League Player of the Year. Also being honored is Mike Pinto, of the Southern Illinois Miners, as Minor League Manager of the Year. You may remember Pinto from his days with the Joliet JackHammers.
Ken Miller, director of special projects for the Joliet Slammers, is president of the Pitch & Hit Club. Tickets are $100 ($75 for club members) and can be obtained by emailing email@example.com or contacting Miller at (815) 354-4517. Proceeds from the banquet will go to baseball-related charities such as Chicago Cubs Charities, Chicago White Sox Charities and the Professional Baseball Scouts Foundation.
Goose Gossage, Tony La Russa, David DeJesus, Mike Rizzo and Milo Hamilton are familiar names among the many other honorees. As someone who has attended many Pitch and Hit banquets, I can guarantee they are a good time. Combine that with the opportunity to support local baseball figures such as King, Andrade and Foltynewicz and you have an excellent way to spend your NFL-free Sunday.
The event schedule calls for cocktails at 4:30 p.m., dinner at 6 p.m. and awards at 6:30 p.m.
The 34th annual Wish Upon A Star Softball in the Snow benefit — now called Winter Fest — is happening Saturday at St. Joseph’s Park.
Because of these difficult economic times, sports celebrities will not be appearing for an afternoon autograph session. Even though it apparently never will snow again, the usual softball games between area police departments will be played all afternoon, with the climax the 5 p.m. game between the Wish Upon A Star All-Stars and the District 5 State Police.
Meanwhile, the pavilion will be open from 4 p.m. until 11 p.m., with plenty of entertainment, food and live and silent auctions on the menu. Tickets are $15.
Wish Upon A Star grants wishes to seriously and terminally ill children in the greater Will County area, so its need for financial support is evident. Contact executive director Don West at (815) 744-9175 for information or to question his smarts — at his advanced age, he still attempts to play softball.
MLK Day of Hoops
The weekend schedule in our area, as usual, is loaded with basketball and there is a whole lot more to come Monday, when Joliet Central and Joliet West help celebrate Martin Luther King’s memory by hosting the MLK Day of Hoops.
Seven boys games are scheduled at Central: Lincoln-Way West vs. LaSalle-Peru, 10 a.m.; Romeoville vs. Yorkville, 11:30 a.m.; Bloom vs. Danville, 1 p.m.; Joliet West vs. Crete-Monee, 3 p.m.; Bolingbrook vs. Plainfield North, 4:30 p.m.; Sandburg vs. Rich Central, 6 p.m.; Joliet Central vs. Mount Carmel, 7:30 p.m.
Six girls games are on tap at West: Yorkville vs. Lockport, 10:30 a.m.; Lemont vs. Lincoln-Way West, noon; T.F. North vs. Plainfield East, 1:30 p.m.; T.F. South vs. Joliet Central, 3 p.m.; West Aurora vs. Romeoville, 4:30 p.m.; Crete-Monee vs. Joliet West, 6 p.m.
Admission is $5 and it’s good for the entire day. Not a bad deal at all.
The Slammers announced a major trade Thursday when they received 2012 Frontier League All-Star infielder and 2011 Pioneer League batting champion Jerod Yakubik, plus right-handed pitcher Brett Zawacki and versatile Nate Wilder from the Gateway Grizzlies for right-hander Rey Cotilla, future considerations and the first-round pick in the 2013 Frontier League draft.
On paper, the deal rates a thumbs up. New manager Mike Breyman already has showed he has a good handle on the types of players he wants for his first team.
Regardless of how many victories result from all of his hard work, though, the key remains how well our community gets behind the Slammers and their new ownership and management.
Success is a two-way street. If fans give the 2013 Slammers a fair chance, hopefully they will like what they see and keep coming back. Why can’t Silver Cross Field be filled on a nightly basis?