Playing the grand ‘ole game of baseball captures the minds and hearts of many Americans and Bryan County hometown boy Les Shumake is no different.
Shumake began his rise in baseball playing high school ball for Rock Creek. While there, he broke into the line and began to contribute almost immediately at center field. Now, he lends his bat to the Hillsdale Saints in Moore, Ok.
There are always going to be times of adaptation for a freshman entering a new ball club, especially when it’s a jump from high school to college baseball. The players are faster and stronger.
But the transition for Shumake was bit more fluid and he is now in consideration for Freshman All-American.
“It’s different from high-school. From the standpoint that you have someone challenging you for your spot and you face tough pitching everyday.” said Shumake, “When I came to Hillsdale I knew if I put up good numbers I would have a good chance to get Freshman All-American. I’m very happy to have great coaches and blessed with baseball ability.”
It takes hard work and dedication to play at high level and Shumake isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty to become a better ballplayer.
“I’m always working on my swing and footwork in the outfield. We practice four days a week along with scrimmages and put in hard work on my days off.” said Shumake, “My goals in baseball are to never settle and become all that I can be and who knows, we’ll see if it takes me to the next level.”
So just what kind of success has Shumake been having? It’s when he steps into the batter’s box when the magic happens. He has a .520 batting average in fall scrimmages, coupled with a .550 on base percentage (OBP). He also has a slugging percentage that would make an MLB player envious at .580.
“I try to make contact and use my speed. I haven’t struck out in about 60 college at bats so far this fall.” said Shumake.
These stats have made the Saints coach, Eddie Davis, stand up and take notice.
“He has been playing really well. He is just a good ballplayer, we look for guys who are athletic and can play different positions. We have him starting in right field.” said Davis, “We watched him in high school and we knew he could swing the bat and he also fits in real well with the team. He’s going to have a great career here.”
So, it looks like our hometown boy has hit the ground running at Hillsdale and looks to keep up the good work. But there is just one thing that comes across his mind from time to time.
“I feel comfortable here and found a groove at the plate. Luckily I have been able to carry over success from high school. But I miss the memories I made on the Rock Creek baseball field.”
And Rock Creek misses him too.