Former Illinois State and Antioch standout Paul DeJong had his contract purchased by the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday.
And then he went out and made big contact.
In his first major league at-bat against the Colorado Rockies, DeJong belted the second pitch he saw, a 92-mph fastball from closer Greg Holland, over the left-field fence for a solo home run.
He became the 118th player to accomplish the feat. He's the first since New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge, who made it happen last August.
DeJong was a 2015 fourth-round draft pick (131st overall) by the Cardinals.
In a corresponding move, the Cardinals placed second baseman Kolton Wong on the 10-day disabled list, retroactive to May 27.
DeJong, who had been playing at Triple-A Memphis, is wearing jersey No. 11 for the Cardinals.
He was batting .294 with a team-high 11 home runs and 31 RBI in 46 games at Memphis.
In three seasons at Illinois State, DeJong batted .326 with 23 home runs and 113 RBI in 144 games. He was a two-time All-Missouri Valley Conference First-Team selection.
When DeJong makes his debut, he'll be the first Illinois State Redbird to do so since his former teammate Brock Stewart did in 2016.
DeJong was a two-year starter at Antioch and hit .430 with 4 home runs, 1 triple and 30 RBI. He helped the Sequoits to a 21-10 record and was named team-MVP. As a junior, he batted .360 with 28 RBI, 3 home runs, 6 doubles and 1 triple.
Libertyville High School grad Jake Vogt, who started every game in center field for Luther College this spring, was named to the second team of the all-Iowa Conference.
The sophomore helped Luther (Decorah, Iowa) to a record of 27-17, 15-9 in the Iowa Conference, good for a tie for third place.
Vogt batted .311 and drove in 20 runs. He collected a team-best 16 doubles, added 2 triples and 1 home run en route to a slugging percentage of .439. Defensively, he led the outfielders with 87 putouts and 17 assists.
Former Hersey (1996 grad) volleyball and soccer standout Kelly Olson Causero has made her mark on the marathon circuit, joining a prestigious group of runners who have traveled the world.
She has completed the Abbot World Marathon Majors.
Causero began her career in Chicago (3:28:59) in 2011. She then completed the infamous Boston marathon (3:35.45) in 2013. She followed up by running New York City (3:56:58) and Berlin (3:37:44) in 2014, Tokyo (3:55:46) in 2016 and London (3:37:30) this past April.
Illinois-Chicago fifth-year senior Jack Andersen (Fremd) earned the win for the Flames when they clinched the Horizon League with a 4-2 win voter Wright State to advance into the NCAA tourney.
Andersen sat out last year after Tommy John surgery and is currently 5-2. He pitched six innings against Wright State, giving up 2 runs on 5 hits.
It was the Flames' fifth Horizon League tournament championship and marked the 39th win of the season for the Flames, matching the program record previously achieved in both 2002 and 2003.
Illinois Basketball Coaches Association hall of famer John Ulrich, now in his 45th year coaching, is once again running his high level skills camps this summer at three locations.
Camps will be at Immanuel Lutheran in Palatine, St. Hubert in Hoffman Estates and St. Alphonsus in Prospect Heights.
Ulrich's teams have won numerous national and state championships. For more information go to johnulrichbasketball.com or call coach Ulrich at (847) 204-5015.
• North Central College junior Adam Poklop (Palatine) achieved a sixth-place finish in the high jump competition at the SPIRE Institute to earn an All-America award of the NCAA Division III outdoor championships.
A first-time qualifier for the outdoor championship, Poklop cleared 6 feet, 9½ inches to equal his personal best and easily outdo his 13th-place showing from this year's indoor national finals.
"That's about 15 centimeters higher than I jumped indoors at nationals, so that feels pretty good," he said on the school's website. "We just tried to treat it like any other meet. I've been struggling the last few weeks, but I felt really good today."
After making clearances at the opening two heights (6-2¾ and 6-4¾) on the first attempt, Poklop was successful on his second attempts at 6-6¾ and 6-8¼, then secured another second-attempt clearance at 6-9½ to equal the personal best he achieved at the Augustana College Meet of Champions in April.
"I have a bad habit of making bars on the third attempt," Poklop said. "I didn't want to wait (at 6-9½). I felt myself brush it, and when I realized I made it, it was just disbelief."
North Central high jump coach Ken Helberg applauded Poklop's mental approach to the competition as a contributing factor to his competitive success.
"That's about as loose as I've ever seen Adam at a competition," Helberg said. "At the conference meet, he was about as wound up as he could be, and we had a long talk after that. I just told him, 'you just have to do what you've always done. ' He did a great job today."
The competition was won by Justin Lewis of Worcester State University (Massachusetts), who cleared 7-1
Poklop earned the 10th All-America certificate in the history of the Cardinals' program and the fifth since 2010. A total of 501 All-America awards have been bestowed to 197 North Central men's track and field athletes.
• Lewis' Abby Tripp (Conant) earned all-American distinction after finishing twelfth in the 10,000 meter run with a final time of 36:08.95 at the NCAA women's championships in Bradenton, Fla.
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