Athlete of the Week: Sharks draw an ace in DeShields

In little more than a year, St. James senior Anders DeShields has gone from the new kid in school to the big man on campus. … and the Mammy’s Kitchen Athlete of the Week.

The left-handed hurler has St. James (14-2) in the hunt for another region title and state championship, which the Sharks won in 2011. The next year, DeShields transferred from Byrnes to a program decimated by graduation.

“It was a nervous transition,” DeShields said. “I was nervous about going to school where I didn’t know anybody, didn’t know if I was going to be accepted But as soon as I got to school I hit if off with these guys just like we had been teammates forever.”

DeShields had an instant impact with the Sharks, helping them advance to the Class 3A Lower State championship series. But the 6-foot-1 southpaw and College of Charleston commit has taken his game to the next level this season – both on the mound and at the plate.

Make no mistake about it: DeShields is a pitcher, first and foremost. He is 4-1 (his lone loss was a one-hitter) with a 1.77 ERA and 35 strikeouts over 31 2/3 innings. Opponents are hitting a woeful .137 with him on the hill.

And while his pitching, which he will do next season for the College of Charleston, skill set is more about control and placement than pure velocity, DeShields possesses surprising power at the plate. He is batting a team-leading .420 and provides versatility in the field.

“I feel most comfortable on the mound,” DeShields said. “I just try to hit my spots and it’s paying off for me right now. But I want to help the team anyway I can and my bat has been pretty consistent this season.”

But DeShields is the first to admit that the strength of the team is the sum of its parts. As a senior leader on a squad he only joined last year, he sees the Sharks coming to make another late-season push and playoff run.

“That’s our main goal right now, just to try to play together as a team more than anything else,” he said. “Last year we kind of fell apart in the end, so everybody’s working hard to do their jobs and come together at the right time.”

Photo by Ranicer Photography

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