White Sox

Terrell puts up big numbers for Crete-Monee

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Terrell puts up big numbers for Crete-Monee

Crete-Monee coach Jerry Verde can be excused if he is tempted to shout "I told you so" to the many naysayers who said he was "full of baloney" when he opted to convert Marcus Terrell from wide receiver to quarterback two years ago.

As a junior, Terrell passed for 2,800 yards while leading Crete-Monee to a 10-1 record. As a 6-foot-2, 175-pound senior, he is even more prolific. Going into Saturday night's Class 6A semifinal at Lemont, he has completed 192 of 282 passes for 2,818 yards and 36 touchdowns for the 12-0 Warriors.

Crete-Monee has so many weapons that it is easy to overlook Terrell. The Warriors are averaging 40 points per game while allowing only 8.4. They haven't scored fewer than 30 points in any game and only two opponents have scored more than one touchdown.

Treadwell, touted as the best uncommitted senior in the nation, has caught 68 passes for 1,219 yards and 14 touchdowns. He plays to take his allotted five official visits--Ole Miss, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Notre Dame, Florida and Ohio State are on his list--but he has put recruiting on the backburner until the season is over.

"One of the great things he has done in the playoff is put recruiting on the side," Verde said. "His whole focus is on the team and the playoff. He is just a great football player. We had him at outside linebacker in the second round. He was pivotal in beating Peoria Richwoods. He made a big interception to change the game when things started to go wrong. He made huge stops on defense from the end spot. He also has made 16 of 17 extra points. And he kicks off, too."

But Crete-Monee has other college prospects on its roster. Nyles Morgan, a 6-foot-2, 220-pound linebacker, is one of the leading players in the class of 2015. He has offers from Illinois, Northwestern, Ohio State, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, UCLA, Purdue and Vanderbilt.

"Without a doubt, he is a fantastic linebacker," Verde said. "He has all the tools. Physically, he can do what no one can do at the inside linebacker position that I have seen...speed, physical, cover, understanding the game. He is an honor student. He does a lot of things right. As a junior, his game is ready for college, physically and mentally. He could be as big a prospect as Treadwell when it is all said and done."

Verde also singles out 6-foot-1, 180-pound senior wide receiver Lance Lenoir, who has caught 50 passes for 918 yards and 14 touchdowns. A three-year starter, Lenoir made the mistake of attending a combine, where he was timed in 4.7 seconds for 40 yards and turned off some recruiters.

What about Treadwell?

"I don't know why he isn't a bigger recruit," Verde said. "He is hearing only from state schools. He scored 30 on his ACT and could be an Ivy Leaguer. But he still is hoping some things will shake loose. I feel he can play in the MAC. I don't know if he is a Big Ten quarterback. But I don't know why he doesn't get more attention."

As freshmen, Terrell played wide receiver with Treadwell at quarterback. But Verde switched them as sophomores, figuring Treadwell "could do more damage at wide receiver and also play on defense."

Terrell didn't have a good summer going into his junior year and Verde crossed his fingers as the youngster opened the season against Thornton Fractional South.

"I was hoping he would be a Kyle Orton and manage the game," Verde said. "But he took it over. He executed the offense at a high level, so good that after the first four games we knew we had something special.

"He is a very cerebral player. He has speed and size to get it done. I try to point college coaches in his direction. Maybe they don't take him seriously because he has such great receivers to throw to."

Terrell isn't disappointed or frustrated by the recruiting process. He is just focusing on this season. "If we do what we are supposed to do, it will come when it comes. I feel I am good enough to play at the Division I level. I want to play at the highest level I can," he said.

He is motivated by last year's 51-36 loss to Peoria Richwoods in the second round of the state playoff.

"This is a harder working team than last year," Terrell said. "Last year, we didn't focus on making ourselves better every week. This year, we are focused on getting better every week and preparing to play later in the season. We have great players everywhere on the field and I feel confident I can get the ball in their hands.

"Another thing, this team sticks together, even when things go bad. Last year, we weren't as much of a team as this year. This year, I understand the game more, how to attack defenses, be more consistent than last year. I try to play at a top level every time I am on the field, not as many down games or long stretches where I play badly."

He still can't get last year's loss to Peoria Richwoods out of his mind. "It took away our season. We started slow. We came out and didn't execute plays in the first half. We were down by 30 points. Plays that should have been made, simple plays, I didn't execute. It has motivated me to do better this season," he said.

Terrell, who spent all summer working out with his receiving corps of Treadwell, Lenoir, Darius Thomas, Kyle Tilley, Deshaun Smith and Deshaun Duncan, realized in Week 2 against Marian Catholic that this team was different than a year ago.

"Everything was going bad but we didn't fall apart," he said. "We battled back and came out on top (30-7). I realized this team has a different attitude."

But is Crete-Monee big enough and strong enough and physical enough to match muscles with Lemont and its powerful offensive line headed by LSU-bound Ethan Pocic and Bowling Green-bound Tim McAuliffe?

"Our offense is always dangerous," Verde said. "The difference between this year and the past is our defense is physical and has a lot of speed. In the past, we worried about teams running us over. If opponents are not road-grading us off the line, dominating us on the line, with our speed on defense we can give you some problems.

"Sure, Lemont has a huge offensive line. Physically, I hope we can compete against them. Their strength is the offensive line and one of our strengths has been our front four (led by 6-foot-3, 220-pound senior end Trevelle Smith) and Morgan."

Carlos Rodon's first win in 10 months showed he could still be the ace of the future for White Sox

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USA TODAY

Carlos Rodon's first win in 10 months showed he could still be the ace of the future for White Sox

As encouraging as the reports are on many of the White Sox’s minor-league pitching prospects, Carlos Rodon’s effort against the Athletics on Sunday at Guaranteed Rate Field could prove just as significant to the rebuild on the South Side.

Looking much like the ace the Sox envisioned prior to Rodon’s rough 2017 season that ended with shoulder surgery, the left-hander put together his most successful effort of ’18 during a 10-3 drubbing of the Athletics before a sun-drenched crowd of 21,908.

Making his fourth start of the season, Rodon matched a career-high by going eight innings. He yielded two runs on seven hits with no walks and three strikeouts. Rodon earned his first win of the season to help the Sox salvage a split of the four-game series.

“I felt good today—a lot of strikes,” Rodon said. “It was good to go eight and just be ahead of guys.”

Helping matters for Rodon was an offensive explosion by the Sox, led by Yoan Moncada’s career-high six RBIs. After falling behind 2-0, the Sox plated five runs in each of the fifth and sixth innings as Moncada cleared the bases with a double off the base of the wall in the fifth and launched his 10th home run of the season to drive in three more an inning later.

“Today was a great day,” Moncada said via a team interpreter. “I just went out to play the game the way that I play. Just to have fun. It was a very good game for me.”

Daniel Palka and Yolmer Sanchez also homered as the Sox won for just the second time in their last 11 games.

Rodon was the happy recipient of the run support to win his first game since Aug. 21, 2017, against the Twins. On Sunday, he threw 99 pitches, 69 for strikes and was consistently in the mid-90s with his fastball.

“I’m looking to do that every time out,” Rodon said. “Just show up and establish the strike zone with the fastball and be aggressive.”

The 25-year-old’s second-inning strikeout of Khris Davis was the 400th of Rodon’s career. It is a career that is continuing after a surgery that was a setback, but one that did not derail Rodon’s confidence that he would again pitch effectively.

“There are up-and-down days when you go through shoulder surgery or any surgery for any player,” Rodon said. “You've just got to work through it and try to make your way back. I'm here now and it’s looking up and I’m trying to get better.”

So is it reasonable to view Rodon as the future ace after all?

“You certainly can’t discount that,” manager Rick Renteria said. “He has to go out there and continue to get his feet underneath him and get through the rest of the season healthy and climbing.”

In other Sox pitching news, Renteria said starter Dylan Covey, who was removed in the fifth inning of Saturday’s game due to a hip flexor injury, “felt better” Sunday and the team will continue to monitor the right-hander’s progress.

Meanwhile, veteran Miguel Gonzalez made a rehab start for Triple-A Charlotte as he continues to recover from inflammation in his right rotator cuff. Gonzalez went three innings and allowed one hit with a walk and a strikeout. Outfielder Eloy Jimenez belted his first homer for the Knights in the game.

A series to forget: Facts and figures from Cubs' rough weekend in Cincinnati

A series to forget: Facts and figures from Cubs' rough weekend in Cincinnati

The Cubs and their fans may want to invent and use one of those Men In Black neuralyzers because the four-game series in Cincinnati was one to forget.

The Reds finished off a four-game sweep of the Cubs on Sunday with an 8-6 win. The way the Reds won the finale will be especially painful for the Cubs considering they led 6-1 after six innings. Mike Montgomery appeared to tire in the seventh inning and Pedro Strop got rocked out of the bullpen to lead to a seven-run seventh for the hosts.

The Reds have now won seven in a row and 10 of 12, but still sit 13 games under .500. Bizarrely, the Reds also swept the Dodgers, the Cubs’ next opponent, in a four-game series in May. Duane Underwood will start for the Cubs Monday against the Dodgers and make his major league debut.

Here are some other wild facts and figures from the series:

  • The last time the Reds swept the Cubs in a four-game series was back in 1983. That was the first week of the season and three weeks before the infamous Lee Elia rant.
  • One positive for the Cubs from the game was Montgomery’s start. Through six innings he allowed one run on three hits and two walks. However, he gave up a single, a double and a single in the seventh before Strop relieved him. Montgomery had gone six innings and allowed one run in each of his last four outings.
  • Strop was definitely a negative. On his first pitch, Strop gave up a home run to pinch-hitter Jesse Winker, the second home run for a Reds pinch-hitter in the game. Then Strop allowed a single, a walk, a single and a double before getting an out. Strop’s final line: 2/3 inning pitched, four runs, one strikeout, three walks, four hits.
  • The Cubs led in three of the four games this series, including two leads after five innings.
  • The Cubs were 5-for-23 (.217) with runners in scoring position in the series. On the season the Cubs are hitting .233 with RISP, which is 22nd in the majors and fourth-worst in the National League (but ahead of the division-rival Brewers and Cardinals).
  • The Reds outscored the Cubs 31-13 and scored at least six runs in every game. The Reds are now 6-3 against the Cubs this year after going a combined 17-40 against the Cubs from 2015-2017.