The Chicago White Sox ACE program recognized four Homewood-Flossmoor High School graduates during a June 7 ceremony at Guaranteed Rate Field for their work on the ball field and their intention to continue to play baseball in college.
Shai Robinson will attend Illinois State University; Aarion Fry will attend Lakeland University in Wisconsin; and brothers Jaden Jackson and Jaren Jackson will attend Joliet Junior College. During their high school years, the four were a part of the ACE Program.
The White Sox created the ACE program in 2007 with the goal of providing high-quality baseball instruction, as well as leadership and mentorship opportunities on and off the field, to young athletes from Chicago’s underserved communities. ACE financially supports the cost of travel baseball against other highly competitive groups at the local, regional, and national levels.
ACE team members, age 12 through 17, are engaged in an elite practice and competition schedule, while receiving academic direction to prepare them for future success. The ACE Program is funded through White Sox Charities.
ACE Coach Darius Day, himself an ACE program graduate, is excited for his former players and the opportunities they’ll have at the next level.
Robinson has been a member of the ACE Program for seven years. Day said Robinson is “a really, really good shortstop. He’s coming into his own as a ball player. I think Shai’s career is heading in the right direction. He’s a really humble guy, he enjoys playing the game. He’s a leader on and off the field.”
Fry and the Jackson brothers were with the ACE Program for two summers. Day said the idea behind the seven-week summer league is to get players in front of scouts.
“Any opportunity to get to the next level is a great opportunity. You never know where it can go from there,” Day said. “All you can do is go with it the best you can and hope for the best.”
Fry is a pitcher, and Day said pitchers are hot commodities for the ACE Program. “We’re always looking for pitching.” Fry hopes to get a chance to make the cut for the varsity team at Lakeland.
The Jackson brothers are expected to take roles as middle infielder and utility man at JJC.