After four years of dominating hitters at Hatcher Field, Andrew Shackart will be able to do his college pitching just down the road.
Last month, the Portsmouth High School graduate signed on to play college baseball at Shawnee State University.
Shackart drew interest from fellow NAIA schools like Rio Grande and Asbury University in Kentucky, but ultimately decided on Shawnee State due to the proximity to home.
“I can be at home with my family. I didn’t want to go really far away where I had to drive a long way to see them and my family can watch me,” Shackart said.
At SSU, Shackart hopes to persue a major in nursing and follow in the footsteps of both his mother and grandma. His mother continues to work at SOMC in the LifeCenter, and his grandmother was formerly a hospice nurse.
This season, Shackart proved to be one of the Trojans top starters while helping lead Portsmouth reach the sectional finals. The highlight of the season came on May 14, when he threw 10 innings of two-run, six-hit ball while leading Portsmouth to a thrilling 3-2 victory over Piketon in the opening round of the playoffs.
At Portsmouth, Shackart made a name for himself with pinpoint control, a smart approach and a nasty sinker. He hopes to bring that same style to a Bear squad that finished 18-29 in 2015 while continuing to improve his velocity.
“I want to mix it up,” Shackart said. “I need to get (my velocity) up a little bit; just het stronger and run some, build a lot of strength in my legs.”
Shackart will join a Shawnee State team already choked full of local talent, including Wheelersburg grad Derek Moore and former West standout Brady Knittel. He’ll also get the chance to play against his high school buddies who have gone on to play at other NAIA schools, including Trojan teammate Sky Oliver. Oliver committed to play both baseball and basketball at Rio Grande earlier this year.
Shackart said he and Oliver have exchanged “a little bit of trash talk,” but are excited to play each other next season.
“I’m sure there will be (more),” Shackart said with a laugh.
Reach Alex Hider at 740-353-3101 ext. 1931 or on Twitter @PDTSportsWriter