Three local ball players got a unique opportunity to work with former Major League Baseball players and MLB coaches after being selected for a national baseball tournament.
Isaiah Coupet and Tré Hondras, seniors at Homewood-Flossmoor High School, and Tyler Fullman, a junior at Marian Catholic High School, were among 50 elite high school players selected by Major League Baseball and USA Baseball to participate in the Wooden Bat Tournament Oct. 10 through 14 in Jupiter, Florida.
They have been participating in various amateur development programs and have gotten attention for their skills.
Coupet is a left-handed pitcher who pitched in two games, striking out six, and giving up one home run and three hits.
He said major league scouts have been watching him for some time. For his season last year at H-F, he led in ERA and was second in consecutive strikeouts behind Tyler Schlaffer, a 2019 H-F graduate who got drafted by the Chicago Cubs.
Coupet’s been playing baseball since he was four years old and started learning the game through the Flossmoor Little League. He has been with the Lou Collier Baseball Association, a travel baseball program. Coupet says there is no other sport that compares to baseball: “For me I get a happy feeling inside when I play baseball.”
Coupet has his sights set on a career in the majors. He said he might be drafted by an MLB team in June 2020, but for now he’s committed to play at The Ohio State University. He is the son of Ernst and Carol Coupet of Flossmoor.
Hondras is a center fielder for H-F, but he played an infield position for the tournament.
“I think since it was my last travel ball event I just tried to absorb everything. It was four days and I just enjoyed it,” Hondras said. Being around players from throughout the U.S. was special for him.
Baseball has been his sport since he was young learning the game in T-ball and little league programs. He has been part of a Chicago Scouts Association team and a participant in the Chicago White Sox ACE program. He is the son of Carlton Hondras and stepmom, Sheree Hondras, of Homewood and Kaleena Clark.
“Baseball is the hardest and the best sport. It takes a lot of mental concentration. It’s hard,” Hondras said, but believes “it prepares you for life.” He does wish for an MLB career. If he doesn’t get drafted in June 2020, Hondras is going to the University of Michigan where he’ll play ball.
Fullman was selected by Marian Catholic. He attended Parker Junior High. He started on the varsity team as a freshman. The right-hander was recording 90 mile-per-hour fastballs, but in Florida he was clocked at 93 miles-per-hour.
He said he dedicated more time to improving his pitches and was excited to work with the pros in Florida, especially after he got moved to a reliever’s position.
“It’s not really my role, but I made it work,” he said. “The coach thought I’d be more relaxed in that position.”
He’s been part of the Sox ACE program the last four years, and he wants to work toward a career in the majors. “I just love the game of baseball,” he said, and in the off-season he is lifting weights and going through an agility workout to be ready for the start of baseball in spring.
He is the son of Miranda Palmer of Homewood and Eric Fullman.