Mundelein's ingredients for successful baseball next spring will include an ace and a slick shortstop.
And, please, don't forget the beef jerky.
Ed Schulewitz knows that if he's not bringing his famous homemade beef jerky to baseball games for his son Mitchell and his teammates to chew on, he may as well not show up.
So on Friday morning, with Mundelein holding an in-school ceremony to announce Mitchell's letter-of-intent signing with the University of Illinois-Chicago, Dad was quite relieved when a large plastic container of his sweat-and-sour tiger jerky arrived.
"It's the greatest," Mundelein senior shortstop Will Farmer said. "There's nothing better than Mr. Schulewitz's beef jerky.
No wonder the jerky was gobbled up quickly by classmates and friends and, more specifically, Mitchell's Mundelein teammates. While the sidearm pitcher was accommodating picture requests and showing off his delivery by signing his letter of intent, his buddies were ripping apart the jerky and devouring it like hungry animals -- or, well, teenage boys.
"There's more (jerky) at home," Mitchell Schulewitz said with a laugh.
In Schulewitz and Farmer, Mundelein baseball has two guys who are anything but jerky. They're a pair of good, hardworking student-athletes -- best friends, no less -- who deserve the scholarships they got, Mustangs coach Todd Parola said. Parola is thrilled for the two players who are "attached at the hip," he said.
Mundelein held a ceremony Wednesday to celebrate Farmer's signing with Southern Illinois University in Carbondale.
"It was just a great school when I went down to visit," Farmer said. "The coach is really focused on the education part of it, too, not just the baseball. They want us in class, too. The program is really headed in the right direction. They're looking to win the conference and maybe earn a berth in the (College) World Series, too. I'm hoping I can help them out with that."
Schulewitz is equally thrilled with his college selection. Mind you, he's been pitching sidearm for only a couple of years and missed most of last spring with an injury to his lat muscle. (Think Jake Peavy's injury, White Sox fans).
"You can't hit him," Farmer said. "I don't know how people even make contact. We face him in scrimmages and I just back out. I don't even want to face him."
UIC recruited the 5-foot-10, 160-pound Schulewitz to be a relief pitcher. It was the summer going into his sophomore year that, after his summer travel coach Chuck Gandolfi recommended it, he decided to try pitching sidearm.
"I'd always been an in-between guy and had an inconsistent arm angle," Schulewitz said. "I started throwing a couple of bullpens and it felt a lot more natural than my old arm slot. I started throwing harder, and I had more movement on the ball. Sophomore year, I wasn't really looking at it as a pitcher at all. That change (to sidearm) really helped me."
Schulewitz strained his lat and pinched nerves in his back last February while lifting weights in preparation for what would have been his senior season of football. He didn't get back on the baseball field until more than halfway through the spring. He had his mound moments, though, throwing 4 no-hit innings against Stevenson and pitching well in relief in Mundelein's sectional-final loss to Highland Park. He also played third base.
When UIC went to see him pitch in a travel game at Judson College in June, Schulewitz threw a 1-hitter. When UIC made a trip to watch him pitch in the fall, he duplicated the feat.
He's hoping he'll have similar stuff at UIC.
"I loved it there," said Schulewitz, who is expected to beMundelein's No. 1 pitcher in the spring. "They came to my house before my official visit, and they offered me. Then I went there (in September) and got to stay overnight and stayed with the players. The guys were real cool. They're really close, and they compete. They work really hard."
Schulewitz and Farmer have been buddies since they met each other while playing on the same Little League team.
"He's unreal at shortstop," Schulewitz said. "He's a pretty good catcher, too. Not a lot of people know that. ... He's pretty athletic. He throws on the mound. He throws hard. He's got good stuff. He's a good ballplayer."
That makes two of them.
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