Bartlett's Hinostroza living a lifelong dream with Blackhawks


Bartlett's Hinostroza living a lifelong dream with Blackhawks

Vincent Hinostroza kept watching the NHL Entry Draft board in Pittsburgh. Every time a Chicago Blackhawks selection neared, the Bartlett, Ill., native hoped the hometown team would take him.

When the dream came true in the sixth round, Hinostroza was overwhelmed. But not as much as his father, Rick.

When they said it, I hugged my dad and he almost started crying, said Vincent, who made the trip to Pittsburgh with his father for the draft. His mother, Laura, was here in town, celebrating a birthday weekend with family. I just walked down to the (draft) floor. It was a great feeling.

Now Hinostroza is back in Chicago, back in front of family, for the Blackhawks prospect camp this week at Johnnys IceHouse West. For the kid who grew up playing hockey in the area, wearing the Blackhawks sweater this week will be special.

Obviously its a dream just to have this opportunity and its here in front of me, Hinostroza said after his first practice on Monday. Ive been going to (Blackhawks) games, watching games my whole life. So its just crazy to be here.

Hinostroza, one of 52 players invited to the Blackhawks camp this week, realizes theres a long road ahead for a guy making the leap from draftee to NHL player. The grounded youngster said hell have a tougher time convincing his friends that.

They dont know what its really about. You got drafted, youre going to be out there next year. No, Hinostroza said with a smile. They just need to learn a little bit.

Hinostroza is obviously excited to be wearing that Blackhawks sweater. But from the time he started playing youth hockey to when he donned that jersey for the first time as a Chicago draftee, Hinostroza has always found the motivation to take his shot.

People are always going to doubt you: Youre not good enough. You dont have the size, the 5-foot-9, 158-pound Hinostroza said. Its all motivation. It helps me work harder every day.

White Sox second-round pick from last year's draft struck out 15 guys Sunday night

White Sox second-round pick from last year's draft struck out 15 guys Sunday night

Yoan Moncada, Lucas Giolito, Michael Kopech and Reynaldo Lopez are household names to White Sox fans after the organization bolstered its farm system this past offseason with a couple blockbuster trades. Luis Robert is already ranked as the team's No. 3 prospect after signing Saturday.

But there were a few top prospects already kicking around the organization before those moves, and one of them struck out 15 batters Sunday night.

Alec Hansen, currently ranked as the organization's No. 10 prospect and last year's second-round draft pick, punched out 15 Greensboro Grasshoppers, allowing just one run in seven innings in the Kannapolis Intimidators' 8-1 win.

It was the continuation of an impressive trend for Hansen this season. He lowered his ERA below 3.00 down to 2.96 on Sunday and has struck out 67 hitters in his 10 starts.

“It was pretty much, for the most part, like my last starts have been going," Hansen said after the game in an interview with team radio. "I’ve been throwing strikes. Just got a lot of swing and misses tonight, really. I think if you back and look at it, they had a lot of swing and misses, it wasn’t a lot of backwards Ks. I guess my stuff was just better tonight than it had been.”

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Hansen has put up tremendous numbers since joining the White Sox organization after what was a challenging junior season at Oklahoma that ended with a 5.40 ERA.

But in 12 minor league starts in 2016, he turned in a pencil-thin 1.32 ERA and 81 strikeouts in 54.2 innings.

He gave up nine earned runs in his first four starts of this season — two of which lasted fewer than four innings — but in the six starts since, he's got a 2.23 ERA in 36.1 innings.

"I’ve been pitching pretty well, and I think I’ve just been going out there and pitching, really," Hansen said. "It sounds simple, but that’s really all it is.

“(What happened) tonight, I’m not expecting that next time out. I just want to keep working and just keep getting outs. I think the biggest thing was no walks tonight. If I can keep doing that, getting deep in games, I think that’s my focus going forward.”

Normally, a 15-strikeout outing like Hansen's would be the organization's minor league highlight of the week. But Giolito, ranked as the team's No. 2 prospect, stole Hansen's thunder with a no-hitter that earned him International League Pitcher of the Week honors Monday.

88 Days to Kickoff: Oak Lawn


88 Days to Kickoff: Oak Lawn preps reporter "Edgy" Tim O’Halloran spotlights 100 high school football teams in 100 days. The first 75 team profiles will focus on teams making strides across Chicagoland and elsewhere in the state. Starting Jul. 31, we’ll unveil the @CSNPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 25.

School: Oak Lawn

Head coach: Nick Novak

Assistant Coaches: Bob Novak Jim Clendenning Milt Seaton Mike Ogle Matt Arthur Dave Duer Adam Probst Pat Probst John Robinson Matt Creech Luke Sakal Steve Reed

How they fared in 2016: 3-6 (1-5 South Suburban Red), the Spartans failed to qualify for the 2016 IHSA state playoff field.

2017 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 25 – @ Marian Catholic

Sept. 1 – vs. Julian

Sept. 8 – @ Bremen

Sept. 15 - vs Eisenhower

Sept. 22 - vs Argo

Sept. 29 – @ Shepard

Oct. 6 - Reavis

Oct. 13 -@ Evergreen Park

Oct. 20 - @ Richards

Biggest storyline: Can the Spartans continue to improve and win more games in 2017?

Names to watch this season: Senior OL/DL Patrick Michaels, Senior OL/DL Kameron McNicholas and Senior OL Don Ott

Biggest holes to fill: The Spartans will need to reload in the offensive skills in particular this fall with just senior WR Antonio Jones the lone returning starter from last season.

EDGY's Early Take: The Spartans have a good base upfront on both sides of the football and the line play will be asked to help lead an inexperienced group surrounding them. If Oak Lawn can find some answers especially early on in the offensive skills they could be a nice surprise team to watch.