‘God blessed me with the talent’Published 7:55pm Saturday, May 18, 2013
SCA’s Moose shines on the diamond
Freshman Shawn Moose emerged as a key force in the success of Suffolk Christian Academy’s baseball team this year.
After posting the team’s best batting average during the regular season, he recovered from a rib injury to finish the year with a flourish on the mound in the conference tournament. Moose threw 12 strikeouts for a win in the semifinal and earned the save in the title game to help bring home the championship and the title of Player of the Week.
For Moose, a relationship with the game of baseball has been a part of his life as long as he can remember.
“I’ve always been around it because my dad loves baseball too, so he was kind of the main influence, and I’ve just always loved it,” he said.
His father, Tommy Moose, remembered it similarly.
“A baseball is all he wanted in his hand from the time he could walk,” he said.
Shawn, 16, was regularly at his father’s softball games growing up, and began playing T-ball when he was five with Olive Branch Little League in Portsmouth. The next year, he moved over to Western Branch Little League, where he spent a few years before joining his first travel ball team coached by his father called the Tidewater Heat.
The team’s name later changed to the Virginia Fire, and he was a member of it until he was 14, playing alongside fellow Player of the Week nominee Blake Harris.
Moose’s father related that he and his wife felt God calling them to homeschool their children when Shawn was very young.
“As a Dad, I’m thinking, ‘OK, Lord, we’ll do this,’ but I’m thinking, ‘Sports-wise, what are we going to do?’” Tommy Moose said.
The opportunities for Shawn to play school ball seemed slim. But then his dad saw a Suffolk News-Herald article about how Suffolk Christian, then known as First Baptist Christian School, allowed homeschoolers like Los Angeles Dodgers draftee Josh Henderson play on its team. They soon took advantage of the opportunity.
“So, we’re real thankful,” Shawn’s father said. “It’s a good opportunity for him to get a chance to play high school ball.”
Moose played on the varsity team as an eighth-grader, but saw marked improvement in himself this season.
“Last year, I really didn’t play as well as I thought I should have, and this year it was a lot better,” he said.
Knights head coach Orel Schleeper also noticed the change.
“He was good last year, but you could just see the maturity level was different than it was last year,” he said. “He was really into it this year.”
“He’s been a leader in baseball, he’s a leader in his youth group at church,” Tommy Moose said. “I’m proud of him. Humble is a good word to describe him. He carries himself well. He’s pretty focused. When he’s on the ball field, he’s there to play ball.”
Schleeper also praised his developing strength as a batter, and Moose’s father noted that it came through perseverance since Shawn had long been small for his age. But in the last couple years, the growth spurt kicked in.
This summer, Moose will play for Hitters Warehouse Training Academy, a showcase team that will travel to different colleges to play in tournaments.
Already armed with college ball aspirations, he has two simple things that drive him to consistently play his best at the game of baseball.
“God blessed me with the talent, so it’s kind of my duty to play it as hard as I can, to glorify Him,” Moose said. “So, that’s a motivation, and of course to win the ballgame.”