Pine-Richland's Sullivan to attend EKU
When it comes to getting accepted to the college level, it is often showing a little something extra that makes all the difference.
Pine-Richland senior Shea Sullivan's something extra is not great physical power or world-class speed, according to Chase Rowe, coach at La Roche College and Sullivan's summer ball coach.
“The environment in which I coach Shea is preparing players for college,” Rowe said. “We do play to win, but the one thing we stress to all our players is hustle … hustle for every pitch, out, contact. You have to have hustle in everything you do.
“Shea runs his hardest and gives 110 percent all the time. That is tough to find.”
Perhaps that is what stood out to the coaching staff at Eastern Kentucky University, where Sullivan will play his college ball. That or the consistent swing Sullivan seems to have had since he was a kid.
“I always had a good swing, so I feel like if it is not broken, don't fix it,” he said. “Coaches try to change it all the time, and they do have some good points. I definitely listen to the points, but I try to maintain my natural swing.”
Sullivan said Rowe helped him with his swing.
“Shea is not a power hitter — he uses the whole field and hits well for average,” Rowe said. “He will be an asset to a college program. He gets it and what it takes. He never lets failure take away from his hard work and hustle. I give him a lot of credit, and it will pay off.”
According to Sullivan, those are some of the things EKU liked about him and his game. Sullivan liked the winning program (EKU is the defending conference champions) and said he wanted to be a part of that.
“It is a big relief to know where I am going,” he said. “I will work as hard as I can to earn a starting job right away.”
The hard work ethic Sullivan prides himself on comes from his mom.
“She is a teacher at Wilkinsburg and gets her day going at 5 a.m. to get ready and get to school,” Sullivan said. “I (follow that by trying) to hit and throw every day to get my routine down better.”
The physical side of sports also helps Sullivan (who also plays for the basketball team) with his mentality. Mental toughness is especially important in baseball, and it leads to increased confidence.
As excited as Sullivan is to have his future path forged, he is not looking past his senior season. He wants to help the basketball team win and said the Pine-Richland baseball team has a shot to win a championship this season, as well.
“The key for baseball is our team chemistry,” he said. We worked over the summer, and that built up our confidence.”
Sullivan said he appreciates all his coaches have done for him, especially Rowe and his Pennsylvania All-Star coach Mark Saghy, who helped him with the recruiting process. But he saved the biggest thanks for the person who perhaps spent the most time assisting him.
“I want to thank my dad … he is always there to throw batting practice when I need it,” Sullivan said.
Jerry Clark is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.