Pine-Richland standout Sullivan going Division I
After a year out of the WPIAL playoff chase, the Pine-Richland baseball team made another statement this season by advancing to the final four of the WPIAL baseball bracket and getting into the PIAA play-in game.
There are many reasons for the turnaround, but senior Shea Sullivan was definitely a big part of the Rams' resurgence.
“Shea is one of the best athletes to have ever come through Pine-Richland,” Pine-Richland coach Kurt Wolfe said. “Off the field, he is a quiet guy who goes about his business but gives his all each game. Kids follow him, because he is a leader through hard work.”
Wolfe said Sullivan has above-average arm strength and speed and great hands, things that make him a lethal outfielder and will serve him will in college.
Sullivan was a solid fielder and hitter for the Rams, but his baserunning skills were one of his most impressive traits.
“I always work on running and know the basics of baserunning,” Sullivan said. “I always work on it.”
Sullivan said the whole chemistry of the team was good this season, and with not many people giving the Rams a lot of thought as one of the better teams, all the squad did was succeed.
Winning the first Class AAAA section title in baseball since jumping up in classification and advancing to the WPIAL semifinals showed how well the team rebounded from a year ago.
“We definitely competed,” Sullivan said. “We went 1-1 versus Seneca Valley and lost to North Allegheny, 10-8.
“I am proud of how we ended up.”
Sullivan is a multi-dimensional athlete and was a contributing member of the basketball team, too.
“My basketball coaches and I have great relationships, and they taught me a lot about basketball and life,” Sullivan said.
This summer, Sullivan will play for Chase Rowe and the Pittsburgh Spikes. He will keep working on his baserunning, hitting and fielding before he goes to Eastern Kentucky to study business and play baseball.
“I want to contribute right away,” Sullivan said. “I want to get stronger this summer.”
Rowe said what stands out to him about Sullivan is how coachable he is.
“He is athletic but super coachable,” Rowe said. “I have had him since he was in ninth grade, and he is a phenomenal athlete. I think he will be OK when he goes to college. He will be able to figure out the Division I level, because he plays the game it should be played.”
Wolfe said Sullivan's offseason lifting helped him this season, and he has the ability to get bigger and stronger.
“He has the ability and the knowledge, plus he is a big strong kid with a nice frame to put on some healthy weight so he can stand up to a 60-game schedule,” Wolfe said.
Sullivan said he liked the coaches and the weather, plus he was a good fit for the team.
“They are a winning program, and it is a winning environment.”
Sullivan had a lot of good role models to look up to in Wolfe and former players Russell Clark, Zac LaNeve and Neil Walker.
Sullivan will miss his teammates but said the junior class that will take over next season has a lot of talent, and there is a lot of hope for next year.
Jerry Clark is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-779-6979 or firstname.lastname@example.org.