Evans, Weishar lead Class of 2014


Evans, Weishar lead Class of 2014

The class of 2014 may not measure up to 1985, the gold standard of recruiting classes ever produced in the Chicago area. And it might not even compare to the class of 2013. But this year's sophomores show plenty of promise -- and they have two years to get even better.

By then, everybody -- analysts, college recruiters, media, fans -- should be able to correctly spell the first name of Parrker Westphal, Bolingbrook's outstanding cornerback. That's right, P-A-R-R-K-E-R.

"Everybody drops one of the r's, even our school's registrar," Bolingbrook coach John Ivlow said. "Nobody believes his name is spelled with two r's. We sent our roster to the Illinois High School Association for the official program in the state finals and they changed it, too."

Westphal made a name for himself -- no matter how you choose to spell it -- in Bolingbrook's victory over unbeaten and top-ranked Loyola in the Class 8A final, constantly harassing Loyola's wide receivers, and Ivlow predicts he will be a genuine Division I recruit as a senior.

But tackle Shane Evans of newly crowned Class 6A champion Prairie Ridge and wide receiver Nic Weishar of Marist already had established their reputations. They are popular choices as the 1-2 players in the class of 2014. But the list is long and distinguished.

Evans, a 6-4, 255-pound offensive tackle, was a full-time starter as a freshman and started all 14 games for Prairie Ridge's state championship team last fall.

"We always run to his side," coach Chris Schremp said. "He is a great run blocker. He can move people. As a senior, he could be the best lineman ever to come out of the Fox Valley."

Weishar, a 6-5, 205-pounder, caught 77 passes for 1,160 yards and 13 touchdowns last fall. He has been offered by Illinois and Northwestern and Notre Dame has expressed interest.

Others who already are attracting interest from Division I colleges are Glenbard North running backdefensive back Justin Jackson, Joliet Catholic tackle J.B. Butler, Kaneland quarterback Drew David, Bishop McNamara linebacker Robbie Odeneal, Naperville Central quarterback Zach Kolbe, Hinsdale Central wide receiver Ian Bunting, St. Rita defensive end Eddie Randle and Stevenson safety Matt Morrissey.

David, a 5-11, 165-pounder, could emerge as the most prolific passer in state history if he stays healthy for the next two years. As a sophomore, he passed for 3,306 yards and 39 touchdowns for a 12-1 state semifinalist. He also was academic all-state.

Rich Zinanni, Bishop McNamara's veteran coach who recorded his 300th career victory in 2011, said linebacker Robbie Odeneal is "one of the best players I have coached in 37 years," comparing him to former McNamara stars Tyjuan Hagler, Thomas Guynes and Kurt Belisle.

Two sophomores who missed the top 20 list but definitely are on the short list of the leading prospects in the class are linebacker Clifton Garrett of Plainfield South and offensive lineman Logan Plantz of Providence.

Top 20 (Class of 2014)

1. Shane Evans, Prairie Ridge, OT
2. Nic Weishar, Marist, WR
3. Justin Jackson, Glenbard North, RBDB
4. J.B. Butler, Joliet Catholic, OT
5. Drew David, Kaneland, QB
6. Robbie Odeneal, Bishop McNamara, LB 7. Jake Kolbe, Naperville Central, QB 8. Ian Bunting, Hinsdale Central, WR 9. Eddie Randle, St. Rita, DE 10. Matt Morrissey, Stevenson, DB 11. Corey Davis, Wheaton Warrenville South, WR 12. Jake VandeMerkt, Riverside-Brookfield, QB 13. Nyles Morgan, Crete-Monee, LB 14. Desean Brown, Naperville North, RB 15. Ryan Graham, Wheaton Warrenville South, QB 16. Mikael Wilbon, De La Salle, RB 17. Parrker Westphal, Bolingbrook, DB 18. Jesse Balluff, Kaneland, RB 19. Tommy Mister, Richards, QB 20. Anthony Thielk, Batavia, RB

Indians embrace potentially hostile Wrigley Field conditions for Game 3

Indians embrace potentially hostile Wrigley Field conditions for Game 3

With the city drunk on Cubs fever, the Cleveland Indians expect to face hostile conditions when storied Wrigley Field hosts its first World Series game since 1945 on Friday.

But Indians manager Terry Francona said the potential for an unreceptive atmosphere shouldn’t intimidate his club. Francona said Thursday that the makeup of the Indians, a group flush with veterans and and confident young stars, should help the team manage itself in the potentially Unfriendly Confines in Game 3 of the 2016 World Series. Josh Tomlin faces the Cubs Kyle Hendricks in the contest, which begins at 7:08 p.m. CST.

“It will be a tremendous atmosphere,” Francona said. “I don’t think there’s going to be a ton of people cheering for us. But then that’s where it comes in the feeling in the clubhouse because it is going to be us against the world (Friday), but us is pretty good. We have a good feeling. Everybody in there protects everybody else and takes care of everybody else.”

Wrigley Field promises to offer a surreal setting on Friday.

 The Cubs have never played a game this late in the calendar year and they haven’t been to this far in the postseason for several generations.

Fans were lined up for the Cubby Bear as early as 5 a.m. and other local watering holes reached full capacity 4-5 hours before first pitch with patrons paying ridiculous cover charges just to be able to watch the game live from Wrigleyville.

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Still, Cleveland isn’t unprepared for insane playing conditions. The Indians won their only game at always electric Fenway Park in the American League Division Series and then emerged victorious in two of three games at the insanely loud Rogers Centre in front of crowds of 49,507 and 48,800. Veteran first baseman Mike Napoli said he hoped the Indians might face the Cubs in the World Series just so he could experience Wrigley Field in October.

“It's a park you want to come to and play,” Napoli said. “I watched when they clinched to go to the World Series and how crazy it was and seeing the fans in the streets where they had to have police escorts. You could just see the crowd just part ways.

“So it's going to be fun. It's something that I wanted to be a part of, and thought that it would be an unbelievable World Series.”

White Sox claim former top outfield prospect Rymer Liriano off waivers

White Sox claim former top outfield prospect Rymer Liriano off waivers

The White Sox announced on Friday they have claimed outfielder Rymer Liriano off waivers from the Milwaukee Brewers.

Liriano, a former Top 50 prospect by both Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus, missed the entire 2016 season after suffering multiple facial fractures when he was hit in the face by a pitch during a spring a spring training game on March 20.

The 25-year-old Liriano had a brief stint in the majors with the San Diego Padres in 2014 in which he had a .220/.289/.266 slash line with one homer, six RBI and four stolen bases in 38 games.

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Liriano has a career minor-league slash line of .277/.350/.435 with 68 home runs, 378 RBI and 190 stolen bases in seven seasons. Liriano was named the Midwest League Most Valuable Player in 2011 and earned midseason All-Star honors in 2011, 2012 and 2014.

With the move, the White Sox 40-man roster now stands at 40.