White Sox program ACEs another test

CHICAGO -- It was signing day at U.S. Cellular Field on Tuesday as the Chicago White Sox helped to send 13 more student athletes to college.

All but one of the members of the organization's Amateur City Elite (ACE) travel baseball team was on hand to sign their letters of intent to either two- or four-year colleges. The program is designed for players form the inner-city.

Since the inception of the ACE program seven years ago, the White Sox have helped 85 student-athletes to receive athletic aid at their future schools. A total of 11 have gone on to be drafted by Major League Baseball teams.

The ACE players to sign letters of intent (with current school followed by future school): Christian Bland (Harlan; Purdue-North Central), David Calderon (Lincoln Way North; Morehead State), James Davison (Morgan Park; Howard Junior College), Darius Day (Simeon, Arizona), Diontrell Earls (Simeon, Purdue-North Central), Angel Figueroa (Bishop Knoll, Black Hawk College), Justin Freeman (Rich Central; Southern); Kevin Jones (Portage; Northern Illinois), Anthony Justiniano (Clemente; Wabash Valley College), Adam Kelly (Kenwood; Illinois Central College), Jamal Martin (Morgan Park; Alcorn State), Lavar Reed (Morgan Park; Hill Junior College), Rahman Williams (Mt. Verde Academy; Michigan).

The ACE program participants range in age from 13-18. The program boasts a 99-percent high-school graduation rate of participants.

"Part of the development is not just on the field but off, in terms of preparation and approach to the game and approach to balancing studies on top of that," White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said. "At the end of the day, the credit belongs to these kids. They’re the ones who put themselves in the position to capitalize on the opportunity. The White Sox were able to play a hopefully not too small role in providing that opportunity for these kids."