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June 06, 2013 - Image 1

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2013-06-06
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Thursday, June 6, 2013
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
O'Neill, Biondi ready for MLB Draft this weekend

mefEtI gan cga yj
Weekly Summer Edition MichiganDaily~cmm

Ann Arbor, MI

Daily Sports Writer
At age 18, Michael O'Neill
,was sure he would make it to the
MLB. He did, and then turned the
opportunity down.
Patrick Biondi figured he had
a chance when he was 16, and
tomorrow might be the day he
proves himself right.
For O'Neill, the dream of being
drafted by an MLB team became
more and more realistic during
his career at Olentangy Liberty
High School in Powell, Ohio.
"I got drafted out of high
school, so probably my senior year
it became a reality. Being drafted
was a pretty neat experience,
but I definitely needed to go to
For Biondi, Divine Child
High School in Dearborn, Mich.
was home to his knack for base
stealing and superior fielding
abilities. Throughout high school,
Biondi spent time on the court
and the diamond, attempting
to decide on whether he should
pursue playing basketball or
baseball collegiately. But in his
junior year, he helped his baseball
team to a state championship and,
shortly after, he began to focus
solely on baseball. In hindsight,
he probably made the right
For both O'Neill and Biondi,
this upcoming weekend should
close the book on a long-awaited
journey to professional baseball.
From June 6 to June 8, the MLB
draft (officially known as the
First-Year Player Draft) will

take place in Secaucus, New
Jersey. Since Biondi has already
graduated from Michigan, he
won't have much say in where
he's heading for the next step of
his baseball career. But O'Neill, as
a senior next season, will be able
to weigh his options on whether
or not to forgo his final year of
eligibility at Michigan.
MLB draft rules allow for a
player to enter the draft after his
junior year of college or his 21st
birthday. If drafted, all players
have until June 15 to make a
decision on whether to sign with
their respective teams.
"I'm pretty sure I'm gonna sign
after I weigh options," O'Neill
said. "But I always have the
option to come back to Michigan,
which is nice."
Neither Biondi nor O'Neill will
be in New Jersey this weekend,
but the likelihood of them
receiving a phone call from an
MLB representative is very high.
According to Baseball America's
Top-500 prospect rankings,
O'Neill and Biondi sit at 79 and
247, respectively.
Just this past season, both
players have made significant
strides during Michigan coach
Erik Bakich's first year at the
helm. O'Neill has vastly improved
his mental strength at the plate
by increasing his patience and
swinging at the pitches he
chooses, instead of letting the
pitcher dictate the at-bat.
"Mentally is where we saw him
make the biggest jumps," Bakich
said. "He had a good plan going
up to the plate and executing

his plan. He's an extremely
aggressive hitter and I thought
he did a very good job at being
aggressive with the pitches he
was looking for."
This season, O'Neill led
the team with 17 doubles and
an impressive .498 slugging
percentage, thanks to his more
intensive approach at the plate.
Many times, he would let fastballs
go by so that he could sit on the
pitches he was expecting and
drive them to gaps in the outfield.
"If he continues to do that
throughout his career, you're
going to see his power numbers
and his slugging percentage
increase," Bakich said.
The ceiling for O'Neill's
offensive production is extremely
high, and with a rocket of an arm
in the outfield, his defense also
remains a noteworthy asset for
interested teams.
Biondi, too, has been highly
touted for his superior defensive
abilities, along with great speed
on the base paths. His late-season
position change from center field
to second base allowed for him
to become even more versatile
in both the infield and outfield.
As an undersized, left-handed
speedster with a high defensive
IQ, there will be several MLB
teams that savor Biondi's unique
"He brings a super utility
value," Bakich said. "Some teams
will place more of an emphasis on
a left-handed hitter with speed
that plays premium defense and
can be an outfielder or an infielder
at the major league level."
Biondi scored 40 runs and
stole 19 bases this season, good
for second on the team behind
O'Neill in both categories. He
also broke the Big Ten's single-
season stolen base record when
he snatched five against Eastern
Michigan on April 17.
And those statistics aren't as
telling as they seem. In fact, those
statistics are deflated due to a
right thumb injury that sidelined
Biondi for nearly three weeks in
the middle of the season. Upon
returning to the lineup after
nursing that thumb, he was still
unable to fully swing the bat and
was forced to bunt at each trip
to the plate for at least a week.
And in the final home series of
the year against Purdue, Biondi
took a pitch to the back in his first

,,.. (f t
.... _..

Junior center fielder Michael O'Neill along with senior second baseman Patrick
Bionid, are expected to be selected in the MLB Draft this weekend in New Jersey.

at-bat, bruising a lung that caused
him to continuously spit up blood
when he was sidelined for the rest
of the game.
Injury after injury, Biondi still
came back and outperformed
the majority of his teammates,
both mentally and physically.
The durability and endurance
in Biondi's toolset makes him
coveted by MLB teams, but
isn't something that scouts
immediately notice, though.
"The most important tool is his
makeup and the intangibles that he
has," Bakich said. "Regardless of
where he gets drafted, he is going
to will himself to the major-league
level. He's just going to do it."
Bakich admitted that Biondi
was only 100 percent healthy for
the first 15 games of the season,
but his grit and already-proven
talent helped lead Michigan to its
first Big Ten Tournament since
"To see him put the needs of
the team ahead of his own, and
just be in there to contribute in
any positive way possible, that
was the most impressive thing,"
Bakich said. "That's a kid, in
my opinion, who is extremely
mentally tough."

Even though O'Neill and Biondi
will be away fromNew Jersey this
weekend, that doesn't change the
anticipation surrounding a long-
awaited phone call. It's almost
a forgone conclusion that the
two will be drafted by Saturday,
but the waiting game still comes
along with reaching a coveted
"I'll be in Ann Arbor probably
trying to do something to keep
my mind off things," Biondi said.
"I know my mom and dad are
coming out so I'll probably just be
hanging out with them."
But even once they get the call,
both Biondi and O'Neill have
expressed that the feeling will be
quite surreal.
"I've thought about it, but I'm
not really sure how I'll take it,"
O'Neill said. "It's an exciting
time in my life so I'll be with my
O'Neill and Biondi knew this
day would come. The waiting
game will end by Saturday, but
the pair will most likely learn
where their headed much sooner
than that.
And at age 21, O'Neill and
Biondi will realize they've
dreamt reality.

Capital Campaign
'U' to launch fundraising
efforts for student
financial aid.
Diag War Protest
Tour de Peace makes a
stop in Ann Arbor on its
way through 60 U.S. cities.
Legacy Admission
Why don't we know how
family history at Michigan
affects admission?
'Kings of Summer'
The Daily sits down with
John Vogt-Roberts to
discuss his new film.
Season Recap
The Daily Softball Beat
breaks down and reviews
the team's 2013 season.
*II ,,No.;,14uo@2013uTheMichiganDaily
O PINION ................ .........4
CLASSIFIEDS................... 6
SPORTS............................ 9

* 41

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Michigan coach Carol Hutchins watches as her team fails to produce offensively, compiling just 10 hits in three games in the Women's College World Series last weekend.
'M' oftball falls in WCWS

Wolverines return
from first World
Series since 2009
Managing Sports Editor and Daily
Sports Reporter
season one out away from coming
to an end, co-captain Jaclyn

Crummey came up to bat looking
to start a rally. But after she had
played hero two inningsbefore, the
senior could do nothing more than
watch strike three pass by.
With two outs in the bottom
of the fifth inning, Crummey had
stepped up to the plate for her 67th
career at-bat. Sixty feet later, it was
Crummey - a pinch runner her
entire career - who stood on first
base as No. 8 Michigan softball
team's savior in the Women's College
World Series with her second hit of

the game and third-career RBL
The Wolverines were six outs
away from forcing a second match-
up against No.1 Oklahoma, but two
defensive miscues later, the Wol-
verines saw the narrow 1-0 lead
turn into a three-run deficit.
Michigan ultimately fell 4-1
to No. 11 Washington on Sunday,
concluding its season and
sending the Wolverines home
after their first trip to the WCWS
since 2009.
"Although the loss always hurts,

I've got to tell you what - I'm
proud of this group," said Michigan
coach Carol Hutchins. "They're
great Michigan women and they
represent this University with
class. They play hard. They play
hard for Michigan and they play
hard for each other."
Whereas the defense sparkled
in a 2-0 victory over No. 5 Arizona
State the night before, the Wolver-
ines' season-long weakness was
exploited for four runs in the sixth.
See SOFTBALL, Page 6


Students reopen Detroit case owacty doeeaminato

Michigan Innocence
Clinic to reexamine
non-DNA evidence
Daily StaffReporter
Almost seven years ago, a man
in Detroit drove into a parking lot
with a female passenger and was
shot by an acquaintance. As the
driver tried to pull away, a sec-

ond shooter reportedly joined the
first, killing the female passenger.
Last week, the Michigan
Supreme Court ruled that the
Court of Appeals review the case
again. The Michigan Innocence
Clinic - part of the University's
Law School which works to
investigate and litigate cases for
prisoners - has new evidence
that may establish the innocence
of the second suspect.
At the time of the case, Car-
los Strong, the first shooter, left

Detroit and was not found. Dawan
Tyner, a Detroit resident, was
arrested on suspicion of being
the second shooter. The driver of
the car testified that Tyner may
have been the second shooter but
admitted that he was not sure.
Tyner was sentenced to 22 to
40 years in prison for second-
degree murder. Imran Syed, a
staff attorney for the the clinic
said the ruling was a "compro-
mise decision."
See CASE, Page 2

investigation (Fl)
FJ.cases ultimately accepted
AllinOrMOion compiledby Will reenberg

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