Bloom prevails in Lockport sectional

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Bloom prevails in Lockport sectional

By Tony Baranek
YourSeason.com
Bloom senior Donald Moore knows his clichs.He was keyed in on one in particular before he and the Blazing Trojans met Homewood-Flossmoor in the Class 4A Lockport Sectional title game on Friday.A lot of people like to say, The third times the charm. We werent going to let that happen tonight, he said. Weve worked too hard all season.It didnt come easy. The Blazing Trojans had a big lead shaved down to almost nothing.But on a night when perfection was hard to find, Moore was spot on when it counted in leading Bloom to a 43-32 victory and a showdown with Edwardsville in the Normal Supersectional Tuesday at Illinois State University.The win was third this season by Bloom over H-F. The schools last sectional title came in 2000.Moore scored 20 points for the Blazing Trojans (37-3), all but two at the free-throw line, where he was 18-of-20. In the fourth quarter alone, he was 12-of-13.Moore did his finest work after H-F (22-8) had clawed back from as much as a 13-point deficit to get within 35-32 with 2:48 remaining. Over the remaining time, Moore went to the line four times and sank alleight shots. The Vikings were 0-for-9 from the field in the final 2:48.They were still down so I knew they were going to be kind of aggressive, Moore said. So I just tried to go into the body, and got fouled.Unlike his teammates, who were a combined 3-for-11 on the night, Moore was a cool customer at the charity stripe.I just told myself, You miss these free throws and the season could be over, he said.He didnt, and the Blazing Trojans were able to prevail despite making just two second-half field goals and rushing themselves out of a good offensive rhythm in the third period.Trailing 8-6 after one period, Bloom caught a spark in the second when Lejavius Johnson (11 points), with a rambunctious H-F crowd chanting air ball at him, nailed a 3-pointer to start 14-1 run. Johnson hit another on a dish out from Moore during that sequence. Moore later added a three-point play.When Donald drives a lot of people respect him, and that takes the focus off of me, Johnson said. It was an easy job for me to catch and shoot. Leading 24-11 at the half, Bloom hurt itself at the outset of the third quarter by committing five fouls within the first three minutes. The Blazing Trojans also had problems getting into their offense after H-F switched from a 1-3-1 zone to a man defense.Still, the Vikings werent able to seriously begin to close until a foulfest in the fourth quarter resulted in the two teams going to the line 19 times.H-F converted early, Tim Williams (11 points) completing a three-point play and Maurius Hill swishing two to get the deficit down to 30-27. The Vikings got as close as 31-29 after two freebies by Tyrone Sherman with 4:36 remaining, but then fell apart on offense, and sent the wrong man to the line too many times for Bloom down the stretch.You cant play one half of basketball and expect to win a sectional championship, H-F coach Jim McLaughlin said. I dont know what happened with the rivalry, but the first half we were just flat.Both teams know each other so well, you knew it was going to be a slugfest. If you only play 16 minutes out of the 32, you wind up not with the trophy.Our hats go to off to Jasper Williams and the whole Bloom organization. They do things the right way and we wish them the best of luck.

Michael Kopech, Luis Basabe, Victor Diaz and the rest of the return for Chris Sale

Michael Kopech, Luis Basabe, Victor Diaz and the rest of the return for Chris Sale

The White Sox return for Chris Sale has been generally praised in the aftermath of Tuesday’s megadeal with the Boston Red Sox, with the headliner being 21-year-old infielder Yoan Moncada

But the White Sox also acquired three other prospects with varying ranges of hype: 20-year-old right-hander Michael Kopech, 20-year-old outfielder Luis Alexander Basabe and 22-year-old right-hander Victor Diaz. Baseball America ranked all three among the top 20 prospects in the Red Sox farm system, while MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo ranked Kopech No. 5, Basabe No. 8 and Diaz No. 28 in Boston’s farm system. 

Kopech is a hard-throwing former No. 33 overall pick out of Mount Pleasant, Texas who was rated as a top 100 prospect in baseball by both Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus prior to the 2016 season. Over three minor league seasons from rookie ball to high Single-A, Kopech has 172 strikeouts, 69 walks and only three home runs allowed in 134 2/3 innings with a 2.61 ERA.

Whether or not Kopech sticks as a starting pitcher (35 of his 36 professional games have been starts) remains a point of contention among prospect evaluators, though he features a power slider and a low-90’s changeup that Baseball America’s Kyle Glaser wrote has drawn comparisons to New York Mets ace Noah Syndergaard. He also reportedly threw a 105 mph pitch last summer with Double-A Salem — and even if that radar gun reading was inaccurate, he’s able to fairly regularly throw his fastball at or above 100 mph. 

[Complete coverage of the White Sox-Red Sox Chris Sale blockbuster trade]

There have been two off-the-field issues with Kopech, though, that are why he’s been dinged in some prospect rankings. In 2015, he was suspended for the final 50 games of the season after testing positive for amphetamine use, and in March of 2016 he fractured his hand following an altercation with a teammate

Basabe — not to be confused with his twin brother, infielder Luis Alejandro Basabe, who the Red Sox traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks last summer — is a toolsy outfielder who hit .264/.328/.452 with 25 stolen bases in 30 attempts between Single-A Greenville and high Single-A Salem last year. FutureSox’s Rob Young wrote that Basabe has “immense upside” as a potential five-tool player, while Baseball America’s best-case is Basabe’s raw talent develops into a "top of the order center fielder" 

Over four minor league seasons, Basabe has a .253/.353/.408 slash line with 21 home runs, 25 triples and 73 stolen bases in 93 attempts (78 percent). 

Diaz has had some control issues, issuing an average of 3.97 walks per nine innings, over his first two professional seasons. The hard-throwing right-hander posted a 3.88 ERA with 63 strikeouts out of Single-A Greenville’s bullpen last year, and with a fastball touching 100 mph, he could develop into a legitimate relief option down the road if he can find the strike zone more consistently. 

What’s worth noting here is the depth of the trade for the White Sox. This is a farm system that lacked both top-end and raw talent when Rick Hahn & Co. woke up on Tuesday, but adding Moncada, Kopech, Basabe and Diaz to a group headlined by recent draft picks like right-hander Carson Fulmer, catcher Zack Collins and right-hander Zack Burdi should have a significant impact on the quality of the White Sox minor league ranks. 

MLB releases postseason shares for Cubs

MLB releases postseason shares for Cubs

The Cubs' postseason shares were released Tuesday afternoon amid the craziness of the White Sox-Red Sox Chris Sale deal.

Fresh off a World Series win, the Cubs handed out 66 full playoff shares, worth $368,871.59 each. The organization also dealt 8.7 partial shares and four cash awards.

As champs, the Cubs received a share of $27,586,017.75 of the players' pool, which is formed from 50 percent of the gate receipts from the American League and National League wild card games and then 60 percent of the gate receipts from the first three games of the Division Series, the first four contests of the League Championship Series and first four games of the World Series.

[SHOP CUBS: Get your World Series champions gear right here]

The 2016 players' pool set a new record at $76,627,827.09, up from the 2015 total of just under $70 million.

2015 champion Kansas City Royals received share amounts of just over $370,000 last season, split into 58 shares.

The Cleveland Indians received more than $18 million from the 2016 players pool.

The Los Angeles Dodgers and Toronto Blue Jays — runners up in the LCS — tallied more than $9 million from the players' pool.