My good friend jca pops and I think the top hitting insructors are Todd Poe SI bullets and Steve Heyward. Also Todd is one the best coaches in Illinois. Steve, Todd is also looking for a second basemen and you know you never have enough pitching.Bill Sing is also a great guy to hit with. My son loves to hit with all three of these guys. They all have the same concept about hitting the baseball. Aso the next great hitting instructor will be styles(Mike Stalowy) Hes a great student of the game.So in ten or fifteen years I will take my grandson to him for free.But the main thing about a hitting instrutor is your kid most connect with them.
hey jca fan(stan craven) and jca pops ( big renell) you guys need to stop hanging out on the east side of joliet.... and you know im charging you double for your lessons... i do agree with you about connecting with the kid you are working with, you have to make them laugh and make them feel comfortable around you in order for them to be succesful... the younger they are the more " positive sandwiches" you need to feed them... the older the hitter the more serious you can be
Styles, I don't need any lessons. The only resson I hang out on the east side of Joliet is to find you a girl friend.On the serious side I hope everything is going good for you on at ISU. Tonight I'm gonig to drink it up with the old friends from UDC. I hope they can hang with the crave.
The top high school players seem to gravitate toward Strikes Baseball Academy in Broadview. The feedback we receive indicates Steve Hayward, Jim Donovan and Jason Shelly (making quite an impact with the younger 08 & 09's) are the go-to guys for hitting. Scott Nelson and Alvie Shepard for pitching. Many people relay that the areas top instructor is Sam Sorce (Prairie Gravel) when you can book him at Line Drive in Chicago. The Sox facility has several great instructors.
Sam Sorce is "the man". Nothing against Steve, he is a good hitting instructor but, Sam is the man in Chicago. My son owes him everything. he was there at such an early age to teach him every aspect of the GAME. He should charge 100 bux an hour. And you still couldn't get in with him. He knows the game thru and thru. Alot of kids in the area owe him a huge debt. And if they are going to college to play ball they should call him and say thanks,in my opinion. That is the least they could do. I thank you sam sorce from the bottom of my heart. I beleive you are the reason that Danny is the player he is. Thanks so much and I'll see ya down at ISU. Good luck to Danny sorce this spring at ISU.
You can attempt to contact Sam Sorce at or visit his web site at Sam is not taking a 15U team this summer. He is hard to get in touch with, however feel free to send us PM and we will work to to get you some more contact info. Sorce is a legend and this guy has the pedigree to back it up. He pitched for Miami, beat the Rocket and won a World Series. His Prairie Gravel teams command respect on the national scene and from what we hear the parents line up to get their kids on his teams.
With all do respect. I wouldn't say parents are lined up to have their kids play for Sam Sorce. Your correct though that Sorce is tough to get a whole of. If you leave him a message and tell him you have a check for him, then you'll be able to get a whole of him. His PG teams were strong years ago when my son played. Now they're still good but far from great. The 14 and 16u teams last year were weak nationally. He's not coaching a 15u team this year. I'm not surprised.
Irish, with all due respect...I'm sure you meant to say get a hold of....Yes they (parents) do line up my friend. Sorce runs a fall camp/league in Burr Ridge and I can tell you this (as fact) the parents line up and in some cases beg for a spot on one of his summer teams. The comment about having a check is a cheap shot, but that seems to be the norm on this site. Let's review your other comment, his teams were weak at 14 & 16?? OK , the 14's won both the 54/80 & 60/90 State Championship, qualified for two World Series events and it is reported that Sam could have dominated many teams but chose instead to develop ALL the kids on his roster. Apparently the win loss record and plaque on the wall seems less important to this individual. The 16's also had an impressive team that certainly doesn't deserve the weak comment. The people in the business know that Sorce can put together teams that can compete on the national stage. We saw all the top teams in the country last season and guess what....Sorce's 14U team last summer was rock solid, Chris Briggs 08 Varsity Montini, Barrett Serrata 08 Varsity at West Chicago, Connor Duckhorn 09 Hinsdale, Ryan Pacyga 09 probable Varsity as a freshman , Rich Zajewski Hinsdale. When Sorce wanted to win, which he did at tournaments..They did!
Take a look at the 04,05,06 guys that Sam has coached and how many of them are playing college baseball....I'd venture to say there aren't too many guys that can claim so many college ball players off travel teams from the state of Il...The man can teach the game...
I was just mentioning what I heard from last year. Both teams had some unhappy parents that were promised alot more from Sorce. As for his teams last year, Prairie Gravel didn't beat any top teams or win any big time tournaments under Sorce's coaching. One parent told me he wasn't even at half of the games, or he came late to some of them. I mentioned his teams in the past were very good. Last year PG took a major step back especially at the 14 year old level. Many have said it. That's not a cheap shot, just a fact. He's a good coach. I never said he wasn't, but there's many very good coaches out there. As for developing his entire roster. I would sure hope he does, considering the money involved. Most of the top 14u players didn't play for Prairie Gravel last year, an I can also verify that alot of the top 16u players played on better Illinois teams as well. Nothing personal, have a nice day.
Lineshot, that might have been true in the past, although over the last two seasons Prairie Gravel recruited more than anyone. It's just that they didn't have alot of success in doing so. Maybe Sam doesn't do the recruiting personally, but Prairie Gravel reps sure did. Many southside teams top players were recruited by Prairie Gravel last year, luckily for those players they stayed with their current team and had a good season. Those teams are still going strong in 06, and Praire Gravel's team folded this summer.
Irish you make some valid points. We have received numerous emails since posting here. Several from parents that had kids on said 14U team. You are correct in the assessment that several were expecting more and that Sam seemed a little less focused than in prior years. I guess the bottom line is that this guy is a very respected baseball coach who has demonstrated in the past that he worthy of such praise. It seems unfortunate that he is letting things slide. This guy could potentially run a national powerhouse program. I know you will bat that down with reference to his alleged failure at drawing the top talent. This we disagree with, we know there was a waiting list for his teams and that if this guy put some effort into this, he would be successful at building a top notch program. You again mention that his 14's & 16's were weak, unless you saw them as we did, we again disagree with this perception. They had a powerful lineup with decent pitching. We are not saying they were a national championship team by any means, however they looked as though they could give anybody a game. We underscore the games we observed, Sorce could have gone for the jugular and without hesitation he would follow his own plan regardless of what the parents may have wanted. That being said, when you mention that he didn't beat any top teams, we must ask the question: did Sorce care about that or was he more interested in something far more important. When we scout these teams we look at the players, how they react, respond and even how they warm up, we don't focus on the win loss record, rather we target the kids that are emerging as impact players. Apparently we are on the same page with Sorce. (the cheap shot referenced the comment about a check in hand) Kevin Thomas
Corky well articulated! Here is some local baseball news: The Illinois USSSA 14U State Champ Dupage Diamondbacks picked up 4 new players for 2006. The new leadoff off man; (John Kurpiel) is a real burner, the other is a big kid (Brian Krolikowski) 6'2" 200 pounds. Brian is one of the top 10 hockey players in the country for his age, he was also the starting halfback for his football team. He runs fast, has tremendous power and on top of that he is a frontline pitcher. They also picked up Chris Briggs and John Carlson from Illinois CABA State Champion Prairie Gravel. This team is talented enough to compete with the top teams in the country. They will be participating in the Travel Ball Select Tournament of Champions. Their coaching staff has bought in Jared Folley asst head coach Waubonse Valley HS (Mike Bowdin's old HS coach) as their hitting coach and Mike Palmer one of the top pitching coach/ physical conditioning in the Chicago area to help with pitchers. They were honored at the Pheasant run baseball seminar over the weekend in St. Charles. The D-Backs were named 2005 14U team of the year by USSSA Baseball. The awards ceremony included the Illinois State Champs from age 10-15. Each boy was presented with a personalized medal and each team presented with a plaque.
Sulltiger, you are also correct. The PG reps were a formidable and well financed group! They wanted to build a machine and again apparentlty they were not on the same page with Sam. Our contention is, if Sam were the one picking up the phone and recruiting players the outcome would have been far different. To be honest, we are surprised the PG Reps (kind of like the Notre Dame Alumni organization) didn't buy Sam out, hire some new coaches and carry on the name. KJT
I'm a little disappointed reading a thread with such negativity towards a long-standing top-notch program as Prairie Gravel. As if that wasn't enough, reading about one year's teams that possibly weren't up to the usual Gravel standards and people are questioning Sam Sorce.

Take this from a northsider, when Sam asked my son to join the Gravel 15U two summers ago after seeing him at an indoor showcase in Mokena, the feeling in our home and by my son was that he had been offered to play for Stanford. I don't know anything about this recruiting stuff that I'm reading, but I cannot imagine a quality player turning down a chance to play for such a great teacher of the game. JMO.
To Travel Ball Select; you make some good points, although so do I. Like I said Sorce had good teams years ago. Last year the PG program thought they could build a contender and they failed big time. That's probably a big reason they're NO more! The one weak CABA tournament they won last year. Who did they beat in that tournament? How did they far against the top elite teams in Illinois last year. What was their record against the Diamondbacks, Seminoles, Bulldogs, and Sparks. Anyways, Sorce's a good coach, let's just leave it at that. The point is there's many very good coaches and much better programs. That's been proven loud and clear especially over the last two seasons. There's a handful of 16u teams that were much better last year as well.
I meant to say how did they fare. Itsrosy, I understand your point. I'm just commenting on the last two years. I meant no disrespect. Though I've talked to a few very angry parents that were on Prairie Gravel last year. It does seem like Sam lost focus, and wasn't really concerned about that team last year, and in effect lost the team. There's alot of good talent and good coaching in Illinois.
Itsrosy im with you on this one. Seems like the people who have negative things to say about Sorce have no idea about the reputation , respect and tradition that the gravel program has built up over the years- something that a lot of these other programs would love to have . Gravel has always been geared toward putting together teams at the older levels, not the younger ones( 14s, 15s, ) . The 15 year old team folded- so what? angry parents- what team doesnt have any angry parents? Because one team within the organization didnt work out, wont stop PG from continuing to put quality baseball teams ( at whatever age group) on the field for years to come.

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