It was about a decade ago when the late Jackie Robinson West Little League Founder and President, Joseph H. Haley, looked at one of his first-year players and gave a big smile. “This kid is going to be a special player,” Haley said at that tim

Haley’s words have indeed proved prophetic as the player he was talking about was Steve Florence. The Simeon high school shortstop indeed has been a special player throughout his Little League and high school career and this past week, he was named the Public League baseball Co-Player of the Year along with Troy White of city champion Whitney Young high school. Florence led the way for the Wolverine offense this season, hitting a robust .571 with 29 doubles, 12 homers and 43 RBI.

He was also an outstanding pitcher for the Wolverines this season with a 6-2 record and earned run average of 0.93. “Steve was our team leader this season,” said Simeon head coach Leroy Franklin. “He stepped up and took charge of our team when we need ed him to. “We’re going to miss him.” Florence will follow in his head coach’s footsteps in the fall and attend Grambling State University. White, meanwhile, was a stalwart at third base for the Dolphins.

Considered one of the top prospects in the state, he’s still undecided about where he will attend college. “He’s been perhaps the most consistent player in the Public League if not the entire area,” Whitney Young head coach Chris Cassidy said. In addition to his solid play at the hot corner, White hit .536 with 13 doubles and seven homers.

Joining Florence and White on the Public League all-city first team are Mike Dickerson of Hyde Park Academy, Jonathan Clarke of Harlan high school, Davi Todd of Kenwood high school, Deon Geiger of Lake View high school, Troy Williams of Simeon and Joe Frahm of Whitney Young. ù Public League baseball coordinator Eddy Curry says the annual Public League-Catholic League all-star game will be played at U.S. Cellular Field on a still undetermined date.

In addition, the Double Duty Classic will also be played at the “Cell” July 7. The game features top high school teams from throughout the Midwest.

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