Payton vs Simeon Baseball in the CPL City Championship Playoffs
Early this spring at Payton High School’s lone grandstand during a Chicago Public League varsity baseball game, Whitney Young batter Ryan Latimer struck out an opening fastball to score an RBI run for Simeon High. A further deficit had just been created.
Simeon pitchers don’t often encounter this obstacle.
Early Life and Education
Dennis Butler is a 6’4″ pitcher known for his powerful fastball. Since 2006, when his son started school at Simeon, Dennis has been coaching baseball at Simeon.
He spends his summers scouring the neighborhoods surrounding Jackie Robinson West for talented high school players who might otherwise fall off of Chicago’s summer travel circuit, or just need an opportunity to showcase themselves. Amateur City Elite was created under his direction with funding provided by the White Sox so as to provide such youths an avenue of development and exposure.
On Thursday at batting practice, Butler III batted first as per usual and focused on speed, hitting areas of grass with his barrel. He is eager to step into his father’s shoes and credits family support as the key element to his growing success.
Simeon boasts a rich baseball heritage. Coach Franklin played on Jackie Robinson West and Dennis Butler teams as an amateur. Coaching here feels like coming home!
However, Franklin faces financial difficulty; he relies on donations and his own salary to pay his assistants in a city where they struggle to find enough work opportunities for themselves and their agents. That can be quite a burdensome responsibility.
Simeon plays on an elite travel circuit known as Amateur City Elite during the summer months. This free program, run by people with deep roots in Chicago baseball, helps showcase talented high school players whom scouts might overlook. Simeon currently ranks among one of the premier teams within this league – boasting former Jackie Robinson West and Auburn Gresham ballplayers among its ranks.
Achievement and Honors
Simeon High School continues to stand out as a powerful baseball program despite public high school football dominating the landscape. This spring, they won their city title and, thanks to head coach Fullman from Coe and Harlan High Schools, sent talented young athletes on travel baseball circuit.
Centerfielder Corey Ray recently earned a Division I college scholarship after impressing at a White Sox showcase in Arizona. Catcher Simeon Woods Richardson now represents Minnesota Twins prospect roster; his last name sets an MLB jersey record, overthrowing former catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s record-holding long surname on a MLB jersey.
Simeon Athletic Director Reginald Brock keeps an informal “Hall of Fame”, featuring pieces of computer paper with photographs of past student-athletes adorned with pictures. Darius Day may not yet have made it onto this wall but knows his hard work ethic will get him there soon enough.
As Simeon drove to report for his Class A Advanced St. Lucie Mets team in Florida State League, his phone buzzed with a text from New York Mets General Manager Brodie Van Wagenen notifying them that they would be promoted to Kingsport of South Atlantic League.
The Thompsons soon learned that sickle cell is a complex condition with potential to cause significant discomfort for their son, so they worked diligently to shield him from this pain and discomfort. Furthermore, they gained more knowledge regarding managing sickle cell disease including how crucial proper hydration levels are for managing it successfully.
As part of their efforts, they developed innovative ways of keeping Simeon hydrated, such as blowing bubbles through a straw, exploring different fruits and savoring popsicles.
Garry Gustafson, Payton head coach, knows his team will have something to prove when they take to the field against Simeon baseball in the Chicago Public League (CPL) varsity city championship playoffs. After all, Payton stands as an underdog against Simeon baseball.
Hemingway, a sophomore, is Simeon High’s go-to pitcher. Boasting an arm that can reach 90 miles per hour and excellent fastball and slider/changeup offerings, his repertoire also includes effective slider and changeup pitches.
Hemingway enjoys a tremendous following on social media and is regularly engaging with fans through Instagram, posting pictures, videos and updates about his career and personal life. With 4475 followers he is well known across America as a celebrity player generating much revenue through his career.