Corbin Shive update and other baseball
By Mike London
Charlotte 49ers baseball coach Loren Hibbs has always liked those well-drilled East Rowan players, and the success of Spencer Steedley, who won games on the mound, chased down balls in the outfield and belted homers as a two-way All-Atlantic 10 performer, made him like them a little more.
Steedley, now a lefty pitcher enjoying success in the Minnesota Twins organization, has been followed by a steady stream of Mustangs.
First was his brother, Ross, now a sophomore catcher for the 49ers. Next was freshman shortstop Justin Roland. The latest is recent signee Corbin Shive, a right-handed pitcher.Shive underwent fall surgery to repair a shoulder impingement, and Hibbs and Charlotte pitching coach and recruiting coordinator Brandon Hall keep close tabs on his rehabilitation.
Shive, 6-foot-1, 185 pounds is a terrific prospect. He was 11-2 for the Mustangs as a junior and a key factor in coach Brian Hightower’s team reaching the state-championship series. Shive had a 1.63 ERA and fanned 77 while walking 18 in 73 innings.
He was 11-0 at one point before dropping a 1-0 decision to South Point in eight innings in the Western championship series and losing to Rocky Mount in the 3A championship series.
Shive, a polished hurler with great makeup and solid velocity, followed his strong high school season with a dominating summer for the South Charlotte Panthers, a showcase team that took on some of the country’s elite travel squads.
“Corbin was a priority from day one for this recruiting class, Hibbs said. “With that slider of his, he’s got a chance to be one of those special guys, and we can see him impacting us right away.”
Hibbs recalls the first time Shive sat in his office.
“We’re sitting there talking seriously about his future, and I asked him, ‘Hey, wait a minute, how old are you?’
“Corbin tells me he’s 16, and I just start laughing out loud because when I was 16 all I could think about was borrowing my dad’s car and seeing girls. Corbin is an awfully mature guy, and we’re very excited he’s going to be pitching for Charlotte.”
A 25th-round pick by the Twins in 2007, Spencer Steedley was a low-profile choice, but the southpaw has thrived. He was a Midwest League all-star at Beloit last summer before being promoted to high A ball in Fort Myers, Fla., and leveling off a bit.
Steedley won six games between the two stops, saved nine, posted a 3.84 ERA and produced an eye-popping 78 strikeouts in 75 innings.
“Spencer has a chance if he can keep getting his curve and changeup over the plate,” Hibbs said. “He’s a little better athlete than a lot of people gave him credit for.”
The biggest concern with Ross Steedley is his health.
He’s had more than his share of injuries at East and Charlotte.
“I think Ross has got the knees of a 75-year-old man,” Hibbs said. “But he keeps working and we keep seeing flashes of what he can do. He can be a very good player for us.”
Steedley batted .281 with a homer and seven RBIs in 23 games as a freshman backup.
Hibbs loves to talk about Roland, the diminutive infielder who wowed Rowan Legion fans for four years.
“Justin is real entertaining,” Hibbs joked. “Doesn’t say a word.”Hibbs said Roland is hearing the usual “Mini-Me” jokes, but he has no questions about his desire and ability.
“We had some high grass in the infield in the fall and almost lost him a few times,” Hibbs said with a laugh. “Justin is 5-nothing and this is a faster game, but he’ll be fine. He just shows up and works.”
Slugger Rob Lyerly hit .364 with 15 homers and 76 RBIs for Charlotte last season. His father, Robert, is a former East Rowan Mustang.
Junior third baseman Noah Holmes will be the next high-profile East baseball recruit.
Charlotte could be in the mix, but Appalachian State and several other schools have targeted Holmes.
Appalachian State baseball
Like Hibbs, Appalachian State coach Chris Pollard was at national meetings in Indianapolis during the fall signing period.
After returning to Boone, Pollard said he’s excited about the future for West Rowan’s Randy Shepherd, a 6-foot-3 right-hander who inked with the Mountaineers.
“Randy has all kinds of projectability,” Pollard said. “He’s strong, he’s got a great frame, and he throws downhill at the hitters. We had him consistently in the 86-87 range, and we see him throwing quite a bit harder in the future.”
Pollard sees similarities between Shepherd and former A.L. Brown hurler Garrett Shepherd, who starred at ASU before being drafted by Milwaukee last summer.
“They both have size, an uncoventional arm slot and very good breaking pitches,” Pollard said. “A key to Randy’s development will be how he matures and competes. Garrett had as good a competitive makeup as anyone I’ve coached.”
Shepherd may pitch in some high-pressure games this season. West expects to be very good, and coach David Wright has scheduled meetings with non-conference powers.
West senior shortstop Philip Miclat signed with Boston College, and Wright anticipates outfielder Jon Crucitti and southpaw Zack Simpson, both juniors, to make verbal commitments to D-I schools.
ASU infielder Wes Hobson batted .308 with seven homers and 48 RBIs last season.
His father, Gil, was an all-round athlete at North Rowan.
Former Northwest Cabarrus and Kannapolis Legion catcher Jerod Faggart hit .274 with three homers and 22 RBIs for the Apps last season.