All posts by benfriedl2019

Ben Hernandez and Ed Howard rep’ Chicago at top high school baseball showcase

By Ben Friedl
Medill Reports

Not only did De La Salle Institute pitcher Ben Hernandez and Mount Carmel infielder Ed Howard display their talent to over 50 MLB scouts at the Under Armour All-America game at Wrigley Field Monday,  they also represented Chicago high school baseball in one of the most important showcases of the year.

“It felt amazing,” said Howard. “I’m finally an All-American I finally get to step out onto Wrigley Field. It just feels good to know that all my hard work is paying off.”
Continue reading

What do MLB scouts look for at the Under Armour All-America Game?

By Ben Friedl
Medill Reports

Major League Baseball scouts armed with clipboards, tripods, and cameras comprised a majority of the crowd at Curtis Granderson Stadium at UIC on Sunday, as almost every top high school baseball prospect in the country took the field for the Under Armour All-America Game scouting showcase.

“Events like this are awesome,” Cleveland Indians assistant scout Matt Czechanski said. “You have really good arms against really good bats, and guys have the chance to prove themselves against the best competition.”
Continue reading

GEICO City Series hopes to increase media exposure for high school baseball

By Ben Friedl
Medill Reports

High school baseball in urban-areas often doesn’t get the recognition it deserves. The GEICO Baseball City Series, a new all-star baseball tournament held in Chicago, Illinois with teams representing Chicago, New York, Miami, and Los Angeles, is on a mission to change that.

“We want to give inner-cities a chance to showcase themselves, have a chance to be on television, and give them a sense of pride that they’re playing for their city,” said GEICO City Series executive director Rashid Ghazi.

Ghazi has experience with broadcasting high school sports showcases. He was heavily involved with televising LeBron’s first ever game on ESPN, and hopes this event, which was broadcast live on ESPNU, can spark popularity for nationally televised high school baseball.

Continue reading

The Odds of Becoming a MLB Umpire are Slim to None — But Don’t Tell That to Vincent Stio

Ben Friedl
Medill Reports

Young baseball fans often dream of playing shortstop for their favorite Major-League teams. Chicago Cubs. However, for 11-year-old Vincent Stio, this dream is trivial. Instead, Vincent wants to be where the real action is, behind home plate calling balls and strikes.

“Umpires actually get to call the game, which is more fun,” said Stio in a phone interview from his home in Raleigh, North Carolina. “When you’re a hitter, you only get a few chances to bat or field.”

Continue reading

Wrigleyville Sports takes a stand by keeping Addison Russell merchandise off the shelves

By Ben Friedl
Medill Reports

Although the Chicago Cubs decided to bring back infielder Addison Russell for the 2019 season, Wrigleyville Sports will not bring back its Russell merchandise, according to a store manager.

Russell, 25, was suspended 40 games on October 3 for violating Major League Baseball’s domestic violence policy. As a result, Wrigleyville Sports has taken a stance by removing any merchandise that says “Russell” from their stores.

“Ultimately everyone made a decision to send it all back to the warehouse. Even if people come in looking for it, it becomes a question of should we sell it?” said Rhiannon Foard, one of the managers of Wrigleyville Sports.

Continue reading

Pallas provides silver lining in loss to Nebraska with 1000th career rebound

By Ben Friedl
Medill Reports

Despite recording her 1000th career rebound for Northwestern women’s basketball, senior center Pallas Kunayi-Akpanah and the  Wildcats narrowly missed completing the season-sweep against Nebraska Thursday, losing by a score of 71-64.

Nebraska was able to jump out to an early lead thanks to stand out first half shooting performance. The Cornhuskers shot 58.3 percent in the first half, scoring a massive 40 points against a Northwestern defense that has been one of the most effective in the Big 10 Conference this season.

Despite the loss, Lindsey Pulliam still managed to score 14 points. (Ben Friedl/Medill)

Meanwhile, with only 26 points along with a 34 percent shooting percentage in the first half, Northwestern needed to turn things around. Midway through the third quarter sophomore guard Lindsey Pulliam scored a crucial basket through traffic, ultimately drawing a foul. Pulliam fist pumps and yells over to her teammates, clearly indicating a change in momentum.

Continue reading

Polar vortex freezes Wildcats in loss to Minnesota

By Ben Friedl
Medill Reports

Despite a fourth quarter surge from Northwestern University women’s basketball and a standout performance by freshman guard Veronica Burton, the Wildcats fell just short against conference rivals Minnesota with a score of 61-54 on Thursday.

As temperatures outside Welsh-Ryan arena eclipsed 0 degrees at tipoff, Northwestern started the indoor game cold. The team was clearly thrown off by Minnesota’s high pressure defense as the Wildcats turned the ball over nine times in the first quarter alone.

“Turnovers forced us into not getting enough possessions and shots,” said Head Coach Joe McKeown. “Our passes weren’t sharp and crisp and we threw some into places I didn’t know existed in Welsh-Ryan.”

Continue reading

Get Caught Up With Northwestern Women’s Basketball – An Interactive Timeline

By Ben Friedl
Medill Reports

Northwestern Women’s Basketball are in the midst of a bounce-back season. This interactive timeline outlines the team’s highs and lows thus far while also looking forward to an exciting second-half of the season.

To view  Northwestern Women’s Basketball’s upcoming schedule click here.

Photo at top: Northwestern Women’s Basketball Team embraces before a crucial game. (@nuwbb/Twitter)

Pallas gets it done (again) for Northwestern in dominant win

By Ben Friedl
Medill Reports

Senior center Pallas Kunaiyi-Akpanah once again dominated with an all-encompassing performance Sunday, as her 21 points, 15 rebounds, and three blocks led Northwestern Women’s Basketball to a 72-46 victory over conference rivals Wisconsin.

However, Wisconsin was able to limit Pallas’s scoring in the first half thanks to 6-foot senior Marsha Howard and 6-foot-2 freshman Imani Lewis, two players whose strategy is to use their size to their advantage by out-rebounding their opponents.

Wisconsin’s dynamic duo limited Pallas to six points in the first half. Realizing that she needed a new game plan, the 6-foot-2 senior came out of the locker room for the second half with increased intensity.

“I started spreading the floor harder. When I create that open space, it’s easier for my teammates to find me,” Pallas said. Continue reading