Apr 18, 2010
When Opening Day arrived last Monday, Ballhawk Shawn was prepared to make an immediate impact in his second season in the Ballhawk League (BHL). Having already attended 5 Spring Training games and an exhibition game, snagging 73 pre-season balls in the process, he was very well warmed up for the season.
The warm-up period proved to pay off as Shawn collected 18 balls in his first week, earning First Place honors in Week 1 of the BHL. He didn't put up huge single-game numbers like he did in Spring Training, but he showed remarkable consistency, snagging 3 balls, 3 balls, 4 balls, 6 balls, and 2 balls in his 5 games at his home ballpark, Miller Park.
"It was a tough week, large crowds showing up early and staying late," Shawn said. "The usher staff at Miller Park has been doubled in a few key ballhawking areas, and the glove trick is officially banned from the stadium as well."
Shawn didn't snag any game balls during the week, but he was able to put up good numbers during BP. His most memorable snag was his first one of the year, a BP home run hit by Corey Hart. "I was shielding my eyes from the sun via my Wilson A500 on the end of my extended arm," he said. "Hart made good contact, the ball was obviously a goner."
Fortunately, his first snag of the year wasn't terribly difficult. In fact, he didn't have to move. "About 4 seconds after contact, all I had to do was open my already extended glove," Shawn said. "With a monstrous pop and minimal effort, I had ballhawked my first fly ball of 2010. The crowd surrounding me at the Left field restaurant erupted in applause, and I gave my signature sarcastic smile and thumbs up."
Of his 18 balls, 5 were hit and 13 were thrown. Despite his first-place total, he placed second in BHL Points. The BHL point system is 5 for a hit ball, 3 for a thrown ball, 1 for a retrieved ball, 1 for a found ball, 25 for a foul ball or ground rule double, and 50 for a home run ball. Shawn finished the week with 64 Points, but the leading point-getter was Casey Ward, whose 73 Points included a 50-Point home run ball.
Also placing high in Week 1 were Erik Jabs (17 balls, 61 points), Zack Hample (15 balls, 63 points), Greg Barasch (14 balls, 56 points), and Joe Faraguna (14 balls, 64 points).