Shocked, nervous and excited - that’s how Anthony Justiniano described his reaction to being drafted by the Chicago White Sox in this year’s Major League Baseball draft.
A native of Humboldt Park, the star shortstop was playing a baseball game in Charleston, Illinois when he heard the news.
“My coach got a text about it and showed me, but I thought it was a mistake,” said Anthony. “I thought there must be someone else with the same name.”
But it was him – Anthony Justiniano of Clemente High School, who is described by teachers and coaches as a bright, talented young man who gives the maximum effort on and off the baseball field.
“It couldn’t have happened to a nicer boy,” said Clemente principal Marcey Sorensen. “We are thrilled as a school community, because Anthony truly is Clemente. He represents and embodies everything we are as a school.”
Principal Sorensen was among the first to hear the news, as her husband, an avid baseball fan, had been following the draft on the Internet.
“I was doing some stuff around the house, and he suddenly said hey, I think one of your students just got drafted by the White Sox,” she said. “Once we figured out it was Anthony, I started jumping around the kitchen like a lunatic.”
Anthony will attend Wabash Valley College in the fall, where his goal is to continue improving his baseball skills while getting a college education.
Also drafted by the White Sox was Morgan Park High School’s James Davison, who helped lead this year’s Mustangs to the first city and regional championships in school history.
“James is a tremendous athlete,” said Morgan Park baseball coach Ernest Radcliffe. “He’s been playing baseball all his life from t-ball on up, and did an excellent job as this year’s team captain.”
Following a 23-7 season, James was named one of the All-Area baseball players by the IHSA. He will also be named CPS Baseball Player of the Year at the city’s All-Star Game, which will be held at U.S. Cellular Field on June 20. James will attend Texas Hill College this fall on a baseball scholarship.
Both Anthony and James were drafted in the 38th round, and both are determined to have a higher number next year.
“One of the things I like best about baseball is that it’s built on failure,” said Anthony. “No matter how many times you fail, there’s always another game around the corner, which means another chance to try harder and get better.”