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.

1
Text Only
Local Sports
  • Proposed plan a touchdown for Ashland, Central

    They’ll have to wait another year, but some major changes are on the horizon.
     

    April 15, 2014

  • Martin, Cannoy put pop on top of Boyd 12-2 win

    Boyd County’s softball bats are booming of late.

    April 14, 2014

  • Stock spiking for Raceland softball

    Raceland took a major step in trying to shift the balance of power in 63rd District softball.

    April 14, 2014

  • 0415eastSB0110.jpg Still chasing the Kittens

    East Carter entered Monday’s softball showdown with Ashland looking to show it’s a credible threat to the Kittens’ recent domination of the 16th Region.

    April 14, 2014 5 Photos

  • Local Sports in Brief: Bush, Porter Wendy's Heisman finalists

    Rose Hill Christian seniors David Bush and Myriah Porter have been named state finalists for the Wendy’s High School Heisman Award.

    April 14, 2014

  • Paintsville tops Magoffin, 12-0

    Kash Daniel and Spencer Taylor combined to toss a one-hitter as Paintsville pounded Magoffin County, 12-0, on Monday night in the first of a two-game series between 57th District foes.

    April 14, 2014

  • AARON SNYDER: Kittens on prowl for SS

    The Monday Morning Shortstop didn't have to dodge any actual darts at Ashland Softball Complex, although there may be an enlarged picture of him riddled with holes somewhere close by.
    If the piercing looks thrown my way weren't enough to sway me, the Kittens did more than enough on the field the past two weeks to distance themselves from a No. 5 ranking in northeastern Kentucky.

    April 13, 2014

  • 0414bcclassic0539.jpg Raceland girls, Boyd boys win track Classic

    As Boyd County first-year track and field coach Chris Holbrook stood on the infield and watched a member of Raceland’s 4-by-400-meter relay team circle the track in the final girls’ event of Saturday’s Boyd County Classic, he commented aloud to no one in particular, “She’s not showing any signs of running out of gas.”
    The Lady Rams had just enough in the tank to fend off the Lady Lions’ late charge and lock down their third victory of the young season, edging host Boyd County by six points, 171-165.
    On the boys’ side, Boyd County cruised, beating second-place Rowan County 175-114. A Lions club that finished 10th in last spring’s Class 2A, Region 6 meet has won all three meets it’s participated in this season.

    April 13, 2014 4 Photos

  • Starns, Steward stellar in '13-14

    After compiling a 40-2 record against 16th Region opponents over the last two seasons, Fleming County left the rest of the area thoroughly convinced of its prowess on the basketball court.

    April 13, 2014

  • Thunder on a sunny day

    Greenup County did its best to pitch to Ashland slugger McKenzie Vanover in her first three trips to the plate Saturday afternoon.
    It didn’t work out so well.

    April 13, 2014