Pitch & Hit News Archive


The September Pitch & Hit Club MEETING

Last night, the Pitch and Hit Club had its first meeting of the fall season held at Cooms Corner (Ron Coomer's new restaurant) in Lockport.

At this meeting we discussed our awards nominations for the 2019 banquet and talked about membership. We are trying hard to expand our club so we get our baseball minded friends to join for all the great activities and meetings and to boot we will have guest speakers at all meetings. It is only $25 for the year---yes just $25--so let's work on getting our friends involved.

Last night's speaker was Brian Michalak, Head Baseball Coach at St. Francis University.

  • Just completed his eighth season as USF's head baseball coach and his 14th year of association with the program as a player or coach in 2017-18
  • A two-time Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference Coach of the Year (2014, 2015)
  • Sports a career record of 318-284-2 (.526) in seven seasons at USF and five years at NCAA Division III North Central College
  • Has guided USF to the NAIA Opening Round in three of his first six seasons and has led the Saints to a pair of CCAC regular-season titles and a CCAC Tournament championship.


Pitch & Hit Club 2018 presentation to White Sox Charities.

Pictured with from left to right are Bill Motluck, Ron Kittle, Anthony Olivia (White Sox Charities) and Ken Miller.
Pictured with from left to right are Bill Motluck, Ron Kittle, Anthony Olivia (White Sox Charities) and Ken Miller.

Joliet Slammers Battle the Traverse City Beach Bums on Friday, August 17th

The Pitch & Hit Club will host an outing on Friday, August 17th to watch the First Place Joliet Slammers Battle the Traverse City Beach Bums. Game time is 7:05 pm. Gates open on hour prior. Fireworks will take place afterwards.

Joliet Route 66 Stadium is located at 1 Mayor Art Schultz Drive in Joliet.

The Club has reserved a suite for the first twenty members that respond. Tickets are $15.00 each. Unlimited food, bottle water, and soft drinks are included. Deadline for ordering tickets is Monday, August 13th.

To reserve tickets, contact Jen Miller at 815-651-2036 or by email at


Ryan Borucki

SEATTLE -- Ryan Borucki was tiring as he prepared to enter the eighth inning for the first time in his major league career. Fortunately, the Blue Jays' rookie left-hander had the boisterous assistance of a crowd packed with Canadians vacationing a bit south of the border in Seattle.

The 24-year-old starter, pitching in his seventh game, breezed through a perfect eighth to put a signature on his first big league victory as Toronto beat a suddenly reeling Mariners team, 7-2 on Friday night. He walked off the mound to a standing ovation from what seemed like a rare home crowd on the road.

"I'm on cloud nine right now," said Borucki (1-2), who gave up one run and four hits in eight innings, striking out two without issuing a walk. "It was definitely worth the wait. These fans here, I was just riding on those fans. They were keeping me in it. . It was a lot of fun."

Meanwhile, Borucki shined, getting quick outs via ground balls, spotting his fastball in the 92-93 mph range, and making the Mariners hitters' aggressiveness work against them.

"He looked composed, in control and just pitched his game," Martin said. "He's good. He's got what it takes and he's not afraid out there. It's just nice to see somebody out there that just attacks the zone and goes right after guys."

"Minor League" Player of the Year, Ryan Borucki'si Major League Debut

Ryan BoruckiLast night our 2018 Pitch & Hit Club "Minor League" Player of the year Ryan Borucki made his major league debut against the reining world champs Houston Astro's. Ryan was very solid and super composed in his 6 inning stretch.
Check out this article containing some videos from the game and also posted are a few pictures of Ryan.

Our hats are off to Ryan for a great start and let's follow it up with another and another!!

Len Diforte's 95th BirthdayHappy 95th Birthday to Len Diforte

Len Diforte celebrates his 95th birthday with 3 past winners of the award that bears his name. Len is pictured with past winners of the Len DiForte Amateur Baseball Service Award . Pictured are Left to Right Armie Bambino 2017, Len Di Forte, Bill Slight 2013, and Al Budding 2012.

With the baseball season over, it's time to remind you to send in your 2018 dues for the Pitch and Hit Club. DUES HAVE BEEN REDUCED TO $25.00. Whether you are currently an active member or a past member who has been inactive, we encourage you to become a part of the club.
Click here for more information or to pay online.

2018 Pitch & Hit Club 72nd Annual Awards Banquet

2018 Pitch & Hit Club 72nd Annual Awards Banquet

This years 2018 Pitch and Hit Club 72nd Awards Banquet was held at the Tinley Park Convention Center on Sunday Jan 21, 2018. We experienced a full capacity crowd with nearly 400 attendees highlighted by the award winner presentations, the autograph tables, and a nice assortment of memorabilia for our guests. We want to thank all that came out to share the great night at the 72nd Annual Banquet.

  • Lou Boudreau Hall of Fame: Don Cooper, Chicago White Sox Pitching Coach
  • Scout of the Year Award: Stan Zelinski
  • Bo Jackson Courage Award: Evan Knoblauch-Rhodes Garland
  • Mary Frances Veeck Woman of the Year Award: Angela Christino
  • Len Diforte Amateur Service Award: Max Reising
  • Minor League Player: Ryan Borucki
  • Chicago Rookie of the Year: Nick Delmonico - Chicago White Sox
  • Ron Santo Inspiration Award: Tony Esposito
  • Charlie Hum Service Award: Rich Budziak
  • Organization of the Year: Schaumburg Boomers
  • College Coach of the Year: Todd Post, Kankakee Community College
  • Amateur Team of the Year: Chicago Policemen & Chicago Firemen Team
  • Youth Team of the Year: St. Paul Apostle School

Congratulations to all the Pitch & Hit Club Award Winners. Click on pictures to enlarge.

Don Cooper
Don Cooper
Chicago White Sox Pitching Coach
Lou Boudreau Hall of Fame

Stan Zelinski, Scout of the Year Award
Stan Zelinski
Scout of the Year Presented by Larry Monroe to the Stan Zelinski Family

Evan Knoblauch and Rhodes Garland, Bo Jackson Courage Award
Evan Knoblauch & Rhodes Garland
Bo Jackson Courage Award


Angela Christino, Mary Francis Veeck Award
Angela Christino
Mary Francis Veeck Woman of the Year Award

Max Reising, Len Diforte Amateur Service Award
Max Reising
Len Diforte Amateur Service Award

Ryan Borucki, Minor League Player of the Year
Ryan Borucki
Minor Leauge Player of the Year


Nick Delmonico, Chicago White Sox 
Chicago Rookie of the Year
Nick Delmonico, Chicago White Sox
Chicago Rookie of the Year

Tony Espisoto Ron Santo Inspiration Award
Tony Espisoto
Ron Santo Inspiration Award

Rich Budziak, Charlie Humm Service Award
Rich Budziak
Charlie Humm Service Award


Schaumburg Boomers, Organization of the Year
Schaumburg Boomers
Organization of the Year

Todd Post, Kankakee Community College, College Coach of the YEar
Todd Post,
Kankakee Community College

College Coach of the Year

Amateur Team of the Year
Amateur Team of the Year
Chicago Police and Fireman's Team


St. Paul Apostle School, Youth Team of the Year
St. Paul Apostle School
Youth Team of the Year

More Pics from the Event

Thank you, Terry Sullivan

A Pitch and Hit Club Shout-out to Terry Sullivan (long time Red Sox Scout) for his time with a great talk and discussion about how the Scouting System works in today's major and minor league systems (both domestically and internationally).


A Warm THANK YOU from the Chicago White Sox and White Sox Charities

2017 Presentation to the Chicago White Sox Charities by Kevin Coe

Pictured with Al, Kevin, Herb and Bill

Pitch and Hit Club Outing to White Sox Park on Monday June 26th

A great night had by all........70 strong members and guests

White Sox Scoreboard

Dave Cook and Debbie

Tony D

White Sox Pic

Herb and Shannon

A festive group from the Pitch and Hit Club attends Cubs and Giants on chilly blustery evening on Wednesday May 24th.

Led by Kevin Coe (Pitch and Hit Club Award Winner) Chicago White Sox "ACE" Competing On National Stage

SARASOTA, Fla.—The White Sox created the Amateur City Elite program back in 2007 with the goal of providing inner city kids with opportunities in baseball. The ACE program has quickly developed a reputation in the Midwest; so far, 18 ACE alumni have been drafted and more than 150 have received college scholarships.

ACE’s travel teams typically play in regional tournaments in the Midwest, but they took on another challenge this week when the White Sox 2019 graduates played in the Wilson Premier East Championships in Sarasota.

Kevin Coe, the White Sox director of youth baseball initiatives, felt that his crew was ready for another challenge.

“We usually stay in the Midwest and play our games in the Midwest,” Coe said. “But we wanted to come down and see if we could hang with the South Florida big boys. I think we did pretty well down here.”

ACE went 2-1 in pool play, then won two playoff games to advance to the quarterfinals, where they matched up against Power Baseball and rising junior lefthander Bryce Hubbart (West Orange High, Winter Garden, Fla.). Hubbart was dominant, showcasing projectable athleticism, advanced command of a mid-80s fastball (that bumped 88 mph) and a tight breaking ball that he was able to spot to either side of the plate.

Still, ACE battled. In the top of the seventh inning, trailing 3-1, nine-hole hitter Mike Bolton Jr. poked a ground ball through the right side of the infield. Following Bolton, Kendall Pettis came to the plate a smoked a hard line drive to left field for a double.

“He’s got a bright future,” Coe said of Pettis, a rising junior at Brother Rice High in Chicago. “He plays the game hard. He can really play.”

Following Pettis, Damon Gladney Jr. hit a fly ball down the right field line that hooked foul by a matter of inches. A ground ball and a popup later, ACE was eliminated from the tournament.

“This is a very competitive group, they refuse to lose,” Coe said. “It’s one of our best groups yet. It’s probably our best group since that 2013 group that had Corey Ray, Ro Coleman and Darius Day. We think a lot of these guys are going to go play big Division I baseball.”

Wilson Premier Baseball national director Matt Bliven wasn’t surprised to see the Chicago kids compete at a high level.

“They normally just play in regional tournaments and they always do well in those so I think this was kind of exciting for them to be on a bigger stage,” Bliven said. “I knew that they could compete and I think that their kids knew once they stepped on the field that they could compete with anyone in this tournament.”

It hasn’t exactly been overnight, but ACE’s development has been quick, and it doesn’t appear to be slowing down any time soon. 2018 graduate Alek Thomas plays for ACE, and he’s established himself as a potential early draft pick with a strong showing against elite competition so far this summer.

ACE players practice four to five days per week in the winter. The program rents an indoor facility in the southern suburbs of Chicago where players can hit and take ground balls. The players also have access to a weight room, and in the fall they work on ACT prep.

Coe says the program has had several players score high on the ACT, with some prospects scoring as high as 28s and 30s. For context, a 28 on the ACT is in the 90th percentile of all of those who take the test. College coaches like recruiting players with good test scores and good grades because their institutions can often provide more in the way of academic scholarships to supplement athletic scholarships.

Ten years after its inception, the ACE program is still developing; Coe hopes that they’ll someday be able to provide a facility where ACE players can go on a daily basis. But the ACE program is well on its way. It’s a well-oiled machine, competing on the national stage and churning out top prospects with regularity.

The Pitch and Hit Club Congratulates Tim Anderson of the White Sox on his new contract, whom was our recent award winner (2017 Banquet) for our Chicago Pitch and Hit Club Rookie of the Year Award.White Sox shortstop, Tim Anderson

White Sox sign shortstop Tim Anderson to record six-year, $25 million contract

Anderson made his major league debut in 2016, playing 99 games for the White Sox. He hit .283/.306/.432 with 22 doubles, six triples, and nine home runs. There’s definitely room for growth and improvement, as there is with every young player, but that’s extremely good for his first time in the majors.

It might seem strange for the White Sox to give out a contract extension to a player who’s spent just four months in the majors, but it’s right in line with their philosophy.


(FYI there are 2 minutes of commercials preceding the interview)

Len Diforte, Long time Pitch and Hit Club Member
Long time Pitch and Hit Member, Len Diforte (middle).
Also, pictured is Past-President of Pitch and Hit Club, Pete Caliendo (left) and Beverly Caliendo (right).

Lou Collier's Stars Practice at Curtis Granderson Stadium at UIC
Lou Collier's Stars Practice at Curtis Granderson Stadium at UIC
Lou Collier, Angela Christino (Beyond the Diamond), Derrick May (St. Louis Cardinals Hitting Coach) and Herb Forkenbrock

Pitch and Hit Club Donation to White Sox Charities
Pitch and Hit Club Presentation to White Sox Charities

Members Outing at Joliet Slammers
Pitch and Hit Club Members Outing at the Joliet Slammers in August 2016


Pitch and Hit Club presented check for Cubs Charities

Pitch and Hit Club presented check for Cubs Charities

At today's (7/20/16) Cubs game the Pitch and Hit Club presented to the Cubs a sizable check for Cubs Charities....pictured from Left to right are members Bill Motluck (treasurer), Kellon McFarlin (board member), Connie Falcone (Cubs Charities) Herb Forkenbrock (president), Russ Gangler (member).

Presentation to
the Joe Maddon
Respect 90 Foundation

Presentation to the Curtis Granderson "Grandkids" foundation form the Chicago Pitch and Hit Club

Corey RayPitch and Hit Club 2016 Honoree (Chicago Area Collegiate Player of the Year; COREY RAY - A Simeon Grad, Louisville OF, is chosen 5th in the 2016 MLB Draft

Congratulations from the Chicago Pitch and Hit Club!!

Pitch and Hit Club's Ken Miller receives Illinois "Coaches" Hall of
Fame Call

Ken Miller admits to being like a lot of young people when he left high school.

"I was one of those people that probably went to college for all of the wrong reasons. I went to be an athlete," the long-time Coal City coach said. "But once I was there, I started to realize all of the people that impacted me at a coaching level. It was really all I wanted to be."

After a four year stint at now consolidated Cornell High School (students in that community now attend Flanagan High School), Miller landed at Coal City, where he became something of a coaching utility knife. He coached the baseball team and the basketball team and, when the school instituted football in the fall of 1978, he jumped in there too as an assistant.

Over the course of the next 37 years, Miller became a fixture in the coaching staffs of many successful Coal City football teams. Last year, Miller elected to step down from the coaching ranks, and it marked the first time in nearly 50 years where Miller wasn't coaching some sport, somewhere.

That overwhelming commitment to student athletes didn't go unnoticed by the Illinois High School Football Coaches Association, as they have selected Miller to enter the organization's Hall of Fame. The 2016 class will be inducted on Saturday, April 2 in Champaign.

"I'm just very humbled by it all," Miller said. "It's probably one of the greatest honors I've ever had. I've always felt that one of the highest compliments someone can call you is to call you coach. I've been very blessed."

Miller never treated the coaching facet of his job as anything like a job.

"I was always something I very much looked forward to doing," Miller said. "At the end of a day of a classwork, it was a pleasure to go outside and help young kids in a way that you just can't in the classroom."

It would be easy for Miller to point to the 1993 season, the year that the Coalers captured the Class 2A state title as the highlight of his coaching career. But Miller really doesn't; he counts pretty much all of it among the highlights.

"I've coached for a very long time, and when you do that, you might take some of it for granted," Miller said. "I've tried not to. I've always felt very fortunate to do what I love to do for as long as I've done."

Although Miller willingly hung up his coaching whistle last season, he remains connected to Coal City and serves as the School Board President and remains connected to sports through his work as director of community relations for the Joliet Slammers, a Frontier League Independent Baseball team.

"I wasn't looking for the job; it just kind of came to me," Miller said. "And it's been a great thing. It allows me to stay connected to sports. And I'm happy to have it. Sports has given me everything I have. I'm happy to try to give some back."

Reminiscing Bill Haller our 2017 Lou Boudreau Hall of Fame Winner


President Herb Forkenbrock Presents Check to White Sox Charities

The Pitch & Hit Club of Chicago presented a check to White Sox Charaties. Vice-President, Christine O'Reilly accepts the check from Pitch & Hit Club President Herb Forkenbrock on Thursday, June 18th.

Past President John Dittrich Presents Check to Professional Baseball Scouts Foundation

Past President John Dittrich Presents Check to Professional Baseball Scouts Foundation

The Pitch & Hit Club of Chicago, mindful of our roots, presented a check for $2,000 to the Professional Baseball Scouts Foundation this past weekend at Chase Field in Phoenix, AZ. Pitch & Hit Honorary Chairman Roland Hemond, a founder of the Scouts Foundation, accepts the check from Past President John Dittrich at the Cubs-D'backs game on Friday, May 22.

Awarding a check to Cubs Care and Jennifer Nowak from the Pitch and Hit Club Awards Banquet.

Awarding a check to Cubs Care and Jennifer Nowak from the Pitch and Hit Club Awards Banquet
from left to right - Kellon McFarlin, Herb Forkenbrock and Jennifer Nowak (Cubs Care) then in front Carter Forkenbrock

Awarding Curtis Granderson a Check for his foundation Grand-Kids

Awarding Curtis Granderson a Check for his foundation Grand-Kids
from left to right - Kellon McFarlin, Curtis Granderson (MY Mets), Herb Forkenbrock, and Jim Hall then in front Carter Forkenbrock


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