Special to the Tribune-Star
TERRE HAUTE —
Former Indiana State, Olney Central and Northview baseball standout Brady Shoemaker opened a lot of eyes last summer in the Chicago White Sox farm system, earning him a spot on a mlb.com blog team that highlighted the team’s outstanding minor leaguers at each position.
Playing 78 games at Class A Winston-Salem and 56 more for Class AA Birmingham, Shoemaker recorded a host of impressive statistics in his third full season, tops among them a .416 on-base percentage that led qualifying White Sox farmhands.
He also led the organization in runs scored (91) and ranked fourth with 75 walks.
The 25-year-old outfielder was drafted in the 19th round in 2009 and earned both midseason and postseason All-Star honors for the third time in four years (Appalachian League, 2009; Sally League, 2011; and Carolina League, 2012) to go with two Carolina League Player of the Week awards.
At the time of his promotion to Double-A in early July, Shoemaker was among the top three Carolina League hitters in average, on-base percentage, slugging, hits, doubles, homers and RBIs and he won Home Run Derby at the California/Carolina All-Star Game in June at Winston-Salem.
After hitting .331 with the Dash, Shoemaker’s batting average dipped to .254 with Double-A Birmingham, but he still reached base at a .408 clip.
“Sometimes the numbers can be misleading,” White Sox director of player development Nick Capra told mlb.com of Shoemaker’s batting average with the Barons. “He really hit the ball on the nose there but had some bad luck with balls going right at people. He was one of the most consistent hitters we had in the organization this season.”
• Bits and pieces — Wallace State’s volleyball team won its fifth consecutive regular-season Alabama Community College Conference title with a 25-8, 25-12, 25-9 match victory against Jeff Davis at Tom Drake Coliseum earlier this month.
“I think it’s harder to win a regular-season championship than it is a conference tournament because you have to beat teams on their home courts, and any team can get hot at the right time in a tournament. That’s why I’m actually more proud of a regular-season title,” said coach Randy Daniel, who has amassed more than 200 wins at Wallace State. “I’m extremely proud of our sophomores. This championship has required a lot more energy than in years past and they’ve made sure the team is focused all season.”
Wallace State (26-5, 12-1 ACCC) clinched a bye and top seed for the ACCC/Region 22 conference tournament, set for this weekend at Gadsden State, where the Lions will seek their fourth consecutive tournament title.
Against Jeff Davis, sophomore Jessica Coombs of West Vigo led the team with 22 digs. Coombs ranks second nationally among Division I junior college players with 570 total digs in 115 sets for a 5.0 average per set.
• The Vincennes University volleyball team will wrap up the regular season ranked eighth in the NJCAA Division II poll.
The Trailblazers (25-7) held tight at No. 8 for the past three weeks of polls, and are also preparing for the NJCAA Region 12 Tournament in Grand Rapids, Mich., this weekend.
Among VU’s late-season statistical leaders — both team-wise and nationally — is Terre Haute North sophomore Katlyn Anderson, who is tied for 32nd in the nation in digs per set at 4.53.
• Rockville’s Emma Riffe has signed a letter of intent to play softball for St. Mary-of-the-Woods College.
Riffe is a four-year standout for the Rox. As a junior, she batted .397 with 11 doubles, two triples and a home run while batting in a team leading 15 runs and stealing 11 bases.
Joey Bennett is a former Tribune-Star sports reporter and copy editor who now teaches at Northview High School in Brazil. He can be reached at email@example.com.