Nic Shimonek will be swinging free and easy.
What else would you expect from a guy who always made it look easy, always made it look like he was a cut above, that special player who knew how and when to take over a game?
Shimonek is one of those kids who wanted to play everything, and then played everything well.
He left his mark on Mildred High School in three sports — football, baseball and basketball — and on Saturday Shimonek will be taking his last cuts at the plate, playing in his final baseball game when he takes the diamond in the Texas High School Baseball Coaches Association All-Star Game at Dell Diamond in Round Rock.
He’ll be free and easy.
“I think it will be a fun experience,’’ Shimonek said. “It gives me one more chance to play competitive baseball one more time. I don’t know anybody who is in the game so I’m looking forward to making some friends and making some relationships and just having a good time. I’m not putting any pressure on myself like this was a playoff game.’’
Shimonek knows his future is on the gridiron, where he will play quarterback at the University of Iowa. He committed to the Hawkeyes as a junior and signed with Iowa, where he will play just one sport.
That’s another reason Saturday’s final baseball game will be more fun than worry.
“I know it’s my last competitive baseball game,’’ Shimonek said. “If it was going to be my last competitive game in everything it would be different. But since I’m going on to bigger and better things it’s different. I imagine I will reminisce a little bit, afterward.’’
Shimonek has been playing baseball since his T-ball days when he was 5, and he has always been a star on the diamond. He was a four-year starter at Mildred and finished his senior season with an exclamation point, winning the District 23-2A Player of the Year award and being named to the THSBCA second-team all-state team.
Shimonek batted .514 in his final season and had a .607 on-base-percentage. He drove in 27 runs and scored 20 runs. He pitched and had a 6-2 record with an ERA just above 1.00, and he also played the outfield this season.
“He didn’t give up anything,’’ Mildred baseball coach Aaron Tidwell said of Shimonek’s pitching ability. “He played center field the last half of the season for us. He’s one of those players you can put anywhere. He can adjust to the situation. He knows the game that well. He can go get it in center field. He has great instincts. He was a four-year starter and he hit about .440 for his career.’’
Tidwell said Shimonek just stood out at the plate.
“Because he knows the game he is able to adjust to pitching sequences, and he was physically able to handle pitchers at this level with ease,’’ he said. “He’s 6-3, 6-4 and 205 pounds. He was hard to get out.’’
Shimonek might have made it look easy, but Tidwell knows what’s in his player’s heart.
“He just loves to compete,’’ he said. “He’s so competitive, and he works his butt off to beat the other guy. He’s the kind I wish I had a lot more of them. He’s just such a great competitor. He won the district player of the year in football, basketball and baseball. I’ve never heard of that happening.’’
Shimonek said he was most proud of Mildred’s overall success more than his own personal accomplishments.
“I’m more proud of the program,’’ Shimonek said. “We went three of four rounds deep in the playoffs my first three years here, and if it wasn’t for a couple of balls bouncing the other team’s way we might have made a run at it. They had done that the four years before I was here when my brother played.’’
Shimonek’s older brother, Jake, was a star at Mildred and he played in the THSBCA All-Star Game four years ago.
“I went to the game so I’m familiar with it,’’ Nic Shimonek said. “My brother got three at-bats. He went 1-for-3.’’
That means Nic wants to at least go 2-for-3 on Saturday.
“Oh yeah,’’ he said, letting his competitive juices flow a bit. “If I do maybe I’ll rub it in a little bit.’’
Nic Shimonek will be swinging free and easy.
Area schedule for the week
Here's a look at this week's schedule for Golden Ciircle teams and Navarro College. The schedule does not include upcoming bi-district playoff games in softball because times and sites have yet to be determined.
GC Baseball/Softball: Blooming Grove sweeps Rice in baseball and softball
Blooming Grove's Lions needed this one.
Heck, they need all of them.
That's where they're living today on the Blooming Grove diamond, where everyone knew going into Friday's game with Rice that the Lions need to win their final three games to have a chance of nailing down the final playoff spot in District 23-2A.
One down, two to go.
“It's in our hands,'' said Blooming Grove Coach Matt Anderson moments after his kids beat Rice 8-0 Friday night. “As long as we take care of our business we'll be fine.''
GC Softball/Baseball Roundup: Frost girls win district title
Frost's Lady Polar Bears needed to win to nail down the district title and they never trailed, jumping out to a 7-0 lead en route to an 11-7 clinching victory over Itasca Friday on the road. They wrapped up their second district title in a row with a 9-1 record and enter the playoffs next week at 13-1.
CHS Baseball/Softball: Whitehouse sweeps Tigers in baseball and softball
The Tigers lost a tough game to Whitehouse, 11-3 as the Wildcats' ace, Pat Mahomes, who went four innings and gave up all three runs on two hits and five walks
GC Basketball/Baseball: Mildred's Connor Hill sees life clearly
There was never any doubt for Connor Hill, never any question about what he would do or how he would do it.
Sure, there was that meeting with his mother and father and talks with the doctor when he was 10, talks and meetings that came accompanied with worry and concern.
But never from Connor.
He just never dwelled on the fact he played sports with one eye. He didn't worry or talk about it when he was 10 and he never talked about it at Mildred High, where Hill emerged as a star on the basketball court and baseball diamond.
GC Track & Field: Roundup — Frost girls win area meet
The Frost Lady Polar Bears made a shambles of their district track & field meet last week, scoring 206 points, and they were dominate again in the area meet Thursday, scoring 162 points to win the meet at Blooming Grove.
Morgan:The new endangered species
Am I just that old, or have amateur athletics gone absolutely nuts these days? On second thought, don’t answer that unless it’s yes to the nuts part.
High School and college basketball are on the verge of being totally ruined by AAU basketball. Top roundball prospects are identified by the junior high level if not earlier.
GC Track & Field: Area meet Roundup
Corsicana's Gilfillan wins 4A area pole vault title; Frost girls win 1A area team title, Frost boys finish second
GC Baseball: Mildred falls to Riesel, 9-0, on the road
Mildred managed a hit and struck out 12 times in a 9-0 loss on the road that could have given the Eagles some cushion in the 23-2A standings. They are now 5-6 with a game at league-leading Teague Tuesday.
CHS Soccer: Tigers boys and girls top off season with strong showing on All-District teams
That tough and gutsy style of play sent both the boys and girls teams into the playoffs and on Thursday the Tigers were rewarded again for their fine seasons as two boys won special honors,four boys were named to the All-District first team and two girls earned first-team honors.
Michael Roman, who did a little of everything — and did it well — was named the District 28-4A Utility Player of the Year, and sophomore defender Jesus Barreto was named the district's Newcomer of the Year.
- More Sports Headlines
- Area schedule for the week