By Mike Bruu, TSB Sports Writer
There is still a ton of baseball to be played for McKinney North this spring, but the Bulldogs are already getting recognition for their success on the field in the first half of the season.
Senior Will Shumate won the Vype DFW Magazine Collin County Power Player of the Week Poll for the week of March 12-18. Shumate won the online vote with a total of 2,395 votes, finishing ahead of Zach Freeman from Wylie East, who totaled 2,247 votes.
On March 13, Shumate earned the win on the mound with a complete game shutout over Richardson Pearce, striking out 13 batters and only giving up one base on balls. When asked about what an award like this means for his high school career, Shumate focused more on the victory that came with the performance, and let the recognition be a little extra bonus for himself and his teammates.
“It means a lot; I’ve just been trying to get better ever since I started playing baseball, and I am really glad I could get the win on the mound for my team,” said Shumate on Monday night. “The award was just kind of icing on the cake. I never really thought I’d be in a magazine before, so it’s pretty cool stuff.”
When Shumate and the rest of his teammates found out that he was a nominee for the P.P.O.T.W award for Vype, there was a ton on support and outreach from his many family and friends on Facebook and around school. Although there is likely to be no formal interview with the magazine, Shumate will be featured with an action photo and a little summary of his accomplishment in the April issue of Vype.
Despite the tremendous performance by Shumate and the Bulldogs last Tuesday night versus Richardson Pearce, North has begun its District 10-4A season at 1-2, currently one game behind fourth place Wylie. However, Shumate is encouraged by how his team has consistently stuck to the game plan throughout the season, and believes playoff expectations are based on the veteran leadership the Bulldogs have on the field.
“We are just trying to play our game, no matter who we are playing. Our team this year is very well rounded; if something happens and we need to put someone else in, we have a person there ready to step in,” said Shumate. “I feel like our senior leadership will play a big role in our pursuit of the playoffs, and I’m very excited about that.”
While few colleges have so far taken a serious look at Shumate to play ball next fall, he said, more performances like last Tuesday night will quickly put his name on the map for several coach’s radars. But rather than worry about his future, the only concern that Shumate has for the remaining weeks of his high school career is to get one final opportunity at playoff baseball in a Bulldog uniform.
“No way,” stated Shumate when asked if senior year would be complete without a playoff berth. “I will do anything in my power to help us get there, and I truly feel like we have what it takes to get there this year.”
Photo by Kelly Anfosso