Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local Sports

May 26, 2013

Sharpie Shivel

CANNONSBURG — A typical spring day at Boyd County High School consists of a sun rising, a dismissal bell ringing at 3:15, and Robbie Shivel digging a fresh crease for his right cleat to settle into inside the batter’s box later that afternoon.

Sporting bright red batting gloves on both hands and a focused yet eager look as he studiously eyes the pitcher, Shivel performs his daily duty.

“I like being the first guy up there,” said the senior. “That way I can come back, tell everybody what he’s throwing, what he’s got, what it looks like …”

There’s no secret what a lineup card will look like when Boyd County baseball is involved.

Coach Brandon Ramsey could probably fill out the first spot on the sheet in his sleep.

“The things (Shivel) does as a leadoff hitter — he sees a lot of pitches, he gets on base a lot, he can steal bases, he’s very good at scoring runs. Once he gets on, he finds a way to get around them,” said the fifth-year Lions coach.

“He’s an extremely hard worker, a dedicated kid,” added Ramsey, who also used modifiers like “serious” and “consistent” to describe one of his five seniors.

The versatile right-hander has not missed any of the Lions’ 76 games played over the past two seasons. In his three-year varsity career, he’s played six different positions — the exceptions are right field, first base and catcher.

As a sophomore, Shivel was primarily a designated hitter during Boyd County’s 16th Region championship run in 2011. He suffered from Little League Pitcher’s Arm, which involved extensive inflammation of the throwing elbow. It kept him off the mound the entire season.

“They were trying to show me how to throw a curveball and I wasn’t throwing it right I guess,” Shivel thought back to his freshman year. “I didn’t tell coaches I was hurting or anything, so that was my fault. I felt stupid for not saying anything about it.”

At one point, the condition was so overpowering that he couldn’t move his elbow. “It was pretty painful,” he said.

After undergoing physical therapy and a methodical recovery process managed by Ramsey and Aaron Acuff, the Lions’ pitching coach, Shivel’s arm feels “amazing,” he said, and the results have represented significant improvement. He is 3-1 with a 3.57 earned run average and 21 strikeouts.

Shivel’s favorite position, though, is located a couple hundred feet behind the bump.

His swiftness, range and instincts are on full display in center field. During the offseason, he knocked three-tenths of a second off his 60-yard dash time, to 6.8.

“I love chasing down balls,” he said.

He also loves racing along basepaths, where he finds himself often. His on-base percentage is a gaudy .529 this season. In addition to that, Shivel has 15 stolen bases and 36 runs scored. He will carry a .387 batting average and 19 RBIs into this week’s 16th Region Tournament.

“I’m seeing the ball a lot better this year,” said Shivel, who hit .345 as a junior.

Before Shivel’s junior season, Ramsey felt inclined to insert the speedy, smart hitter atop the lineup.

“He’s always been a patient guy ... has a very good approach,” said Shivel’s coach.

While Shivel said he batted second behind Dylan Grimm a handful of times in 2012, Ramsey has rarely wavered from the strategy.

The plan made Shivel uneasy initially, but since has worked out swimmingly.

In his first full season at leadoff, Shivel racked up these achievements: a 64th District Tournament Most Valuable Player award, a 16th Region All-Tournament Team selection and an All-Area honor.

“At first I really didn’t like (batting first),” Shivel said. “I thought I’d rather be a ‘two’ guy. But I started to really enjoy it. It comes with age, and experience.”

Shivel speaks like a veteran, and he backs up his words with actions.

“Robbie’s really taken to the leadership role,” Ramsey said. “He’s taken a lot upon his shoulders.”

A baseball player since age 4, Shivel is now orchestrating his Swan song. He isn’t pursuing a college baseball career. In fact, he already has a firm plan in mind.

“I want to focus on my studies,” said the Morehead State-bound Shivel. He will major in nursing.

Somebody else’s name will be etched onto Line 1 next season, but Shivel assured that he wouldn’t be too far from home plate for at least a few more first pitches.

“It’s an honor to be a Boyd County baseball player, something you take pride in,” Shivel said. “I’ll be back.”

AARON SNYDER can be reached at asnyder@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2664.

Text Only
Local Sports
  • Kittens call on Ingram

    Somebody had to follow Dave Miller.
    Scott Ingram is pleased to be the coach to fill the vacancy for the man who built Ashland Blazer softball into a perennial state Top 25 program. The Kittens have won the 16th Region championship every year since 2009.

    July 29, 2014

  • 0729kypgaJr0034.jpg Golfers go out with an encore

    Evan Goble said he “wasn’t completely ready for a playoff” on Monday.
    That didn’t stop him from holing two pressure-packed playoff putts to win the 13-14-year-old division of the final event of the summer on the Kentucky PGA Junior Tour at Bellefonte Country Club.

    July 29, 2014 4 Photos

  • EKC Grid-O-Rama set for Aug. 15-16

    The annual Eastern Kentucky Conference football scrimmage contests are set for Aug. 15-16 at Fleming County and Raceland.

    July 29, 2014

  • Holliday embraces high expectations

    As Marshall football prepares to return to the gridiron to begin fall practice Aug. 4, this season the program finds itself labeled something that it has not been in many years: a favorite.

    July 29, 2014

  • Mobley, Jude key for EKU

    Eastern Kentucky coach Dean Hood has revamped the Colonels’ defense in hopes of containing OVC opponents’ spread offenses.

    July 29, 2014

  • ZACK KLEMME: Punchless Reds wasting solid pitching

    The last nine days have been an exercise in understanding just how slim the margin for error is for baseball teams — even good ones — that can’t score.

    July 27, 2014

  • 0726fbPrac0079.jpg Practice rolls on as kickoff approaches in less than 5 weeks

    As high school football teams strap on helmets and prepare for Friday nights next month, the theme of the first couple of weeks of practice for most is simple.
    You gotta work. Hard.
    And if you don’t, it’ll be exposed come Aug. 22.
    “Everybody looks good in helmets,” Ashland coach Tony Love said with a grin. “We’re all undefeated. There’s a lot of work to get done.
    “Our coaches and kids, we all know it, and that’s why they’re here and we’re here, and we’re gonna push hard every day.”

    July 25, 2014 4 Photos

  • kenzie-breaststroke.jpg Pennington makes push for Nationals

    Swimmer Kenzie Pennington had one last chance to make the cut for this year’s YMCA Long Course National Championships.
    The 15-year-old from Ashland didn’t disappoint.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Salyers shoots 75 for title at Lakeside

    Baylee Salyers of Flatwoods shot a 3-over par 75 at Lakeside Golf Course on Thursday to win the Girls Open division of the Walmart Kentucky PGA Junior Tour event.

    July 24, 2014

  • 0724putnamwebshot.JPG Laying the foundation Workers are finishing the foundation for the locker room on the home side of Putnam Stadium on Tuesday. The Ashland Tomcats open the football season on Aug. 22 against Newport Catholic.

    July 23, 2014