Corsicana Daily Sun
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.’’