Despite inclement weather and their lack of hometown advantage, a group of CPS all-stars recently pulled off a feat that has eluded many Major League Baseball teams. They completed a shutout at Yankee Stadium.
On July 1, CPS sent 20 of its finest baseball players – athletes that had achieved all-city and all-conference titles in 2013 – to compete against the all-stars from the New York City public schools, achieving a 9-0 victory over their East Coast rivals.
“It was the experience of a lifetime for all of us,” said Kenny Fullman, who was one of three CPS baseball coaches to make the trip. “I’ve never experienced anything like it in my life.”
Fullman, who has been the head baseball coach at Harlan High School for the past 21 years, worked collaboratively with coaches from Clemente and Washington high schools to guide their senior players to the decisive victory over New York. Challenges included heavy rains, a determined NYC team, and the simple allure of Yankee Stadium.
“We knew that our players would be in awe of being in that park,” said Coach Fullman, “so we gave them time before the game to look around and take it all in. But we also told them that they needed to block it all out at game time and get ready to play.”
Almost from the start, CPS players dominated the game. After back-to-back hits by Torrence Summerlin and John Stevens, the team scored two runs in the second inning and never looked back. Six pitchers contributed to the 9-0 shutout, giving up only two hits to the players from New York.
“Our pitching was phenomenal,” said Coach Fullman, “and so was our offense. It gave us the room we needed to make sure that all of our kids got to have at-bats and play on that incredible field.”
This was the second all-star game victory for CPS in the 2012-2013 school year. The first came earlier this spring, when they defeated Chicago’s Catholic school all-stars at U.S. Cellular Field by a score of 7-3.
“Both games were great experiences for everyone, but the one at Yankee Stadium really stands out,” said Coach Fullman. “For our athletes to get to come through the same tunnel as the New York Yankees, sit in their dugout, and play on their field – that’s an experience they’ll never forget.”
The senior players from CPS represented Clemente, Harlan, Jones Prep, Kenwood, Lane Tech, Morgan Park, Simeon, Von Steuben, Washington and Whitney Young high schools. Many have received baseball scholarships and will be attending such universities as Vanderbilt, Eastern Illinois, and the University of Louisville come fall.
“It was such a great time,” said Coach Fullman of the all-star team’s experience in New York. “Everyone in NYC treated us very well, and we look forward to returning the favor next year when they come for a rematch in our city, hopefully at Wrigley Field.”