May 20, 2010
Averaging 6.25 balls over a 4-game stretch at Miller Park, Ballhawk Shawn totaled 25 last week to earn his second Ballhawk League (BHL) victory of the season. His week included three solid games (9 balls, 8 balls, and 7 balls) and one sub par performance (1 ball on May 12). Of his 25 balls, 11 were hit and 14 were thrown.
"I had began the week with high hopes but low expectations," Shawn remarked. "The Braves usually draw rather large crowds in Milwaukee, but on the other hand, they had quite the left-handed power supply. The same goes for the Phillies, who where slated to be the second of two teams visiting Miller Park during the home stand."
The Braves' lefties did indeed come out hitting bombs, and Shawn knew right where to position himself to maximize his chances. "I put on a ballhawking clinic, to say the least," he said. "I remembered right where to play Brian McCann from last season, and I already had some insider tips on Jason Heyward." In all, Shawn snagged 4 balls off the bat of McCann and 1 off the bat of Heyward during the week.
Shawn considers his 9-ball performance on May 10 to be his best of the week, although the May 11 and May 15 games (8 balls and 7 balls, respectively) were impressive as well. His most memorable snags of the week were a toss-up from Takashi Saito, which he asked for in Japanese, a home run hit by Packers' draft pick Brian Bulaga, and a McCann BP homer to right field.
"After sprinting an entire section to my left, I broke backwards about 10 feet," he said, describing the McCann snag. "Keeping my eye on the ball, feeling behind me with my throwing hand, I leap the highest I've ever jumped while ballhawking. Nearly falling over a railing, I make the catch during full extension. It was a good enough play to warrant the entire stadium to erupt in cheers, including most of the braves players."
The 25-ball week ran his season total to 132, tops on myGameBalls.com. He is currently in fourth place in the season standings in the BHL, which does not count Spring Training balls. Erik Jabs is in first place after week 6 with 115 balls, followed by Nick Pelescak (112) and Zack Hample (100).
Shawn feels he could have put up even higher numbers during the week, particularly at the Brewers/Phillies game on May 15. "I was robbed of about 10 baseballs that day, all on violations of Ballhawk Etiquette, making Rick Gold's recent column rather relevant."