By MIKE DEAK
Soft spoken, hard-nosed, incredibly intelligent. Those are all statements that can be attributed to Wawasee senior Silas Shear. In the hallways, you could miss him in passing just as easily as anyone else. It’s another story on the baseball diamond, as Shear has emerged as one of the top players in the Northern Lakes Conference.
Shear’s rise on the baseball diamond isn’t much of a surprise to those who have played with him or coached him. His consistent improvement at the varsity level over the past four years has been impressive, moving from an eager utility player as a freshman to a deserving starter as a senior.
Holding down the catching position, but fully capable to grab a fielder’s mitt and play any other position, including pitcher, Shear has taken the mold of “baseball player” as well as any Warrior in recent memory.
But don’t ask him to brag about any of it.
“Si is a quiet leader,” said Wawasee baseball head coach John Blunk. “He leads by examples and actions.”
Shear wouldn’t disagree with that statement, either.
“I’m not really a loud person, I don’t really like telling people what to do,” Shear admitted. “Sometimes you have to, but I would rather lead by my actions. Show people how to work hard everyday, play to the last pitch.”
Shear was hitting .333 overall through the first week of NLC play this season and led Wawasee as a junior with a .398 average, 11 doubles, 23 runs and added 10 RBIs for good measure.
His play, as well as his book smarts, has afforded Shear a scholarship to play collegiately at Limestone College in Gaffney, South Carolina. The Saints were 34-18 in 2011 but rested at 16-32 at the end of April this year. Shear is excited about the chance to further his baseball career, even if for a couple unconventional reasons.
“I wanted to go to a warmer climate and wanted to go to college to get a good education,” Shear said. “We went to a couple schools in North and South Carolina, I got a workout with Limestone and just really liked it there. The way they go about things down there, the coach offered a scholarship to me and I said yeah.”
The move of baby brother to South Carolina won’t be the only adjustment the Shear family will be making. Older sister, Clare, is noted by Si as his biggest role model. Clare herself was a coveted high school student, signing on with Holy Cross College in South Bend to be a team manager for its women’s basketball program. The mutual appreciation between the two has offered opportunities of advice, which big sis isn’t afraid to share.
“I knew that when I chose to at least try to pursue collegiate managing that I would not regret it,” Clare said. “I believe that if given the opportunity, playing any collegiate sport is definitely a blessing that should not be passed up, even if just to try it out.
“I am just so very proud of my brother in every aspect of his life,” Clare continued. “When he comes to see me at school, he tells me the same thing. That gives me hope that I have helped to influence him into the young man he will become in South Carolina.”
While at Limestone, Si plans on majoring in business, knowing a future in baseball past the college level doesn’t carry heavy odds. Carrying a classload that includes AP calculus and AP economics as well as a class rank of 50 (of 214) and being a Scholar Athlete all four years at Wawasee, the classroom is as important as the diamond.
“I think going there will make me more mature as a person and grow up faster than if I stayed around here,” Si said. “I think that will help me out later in life. They also have a good business school and program down there, and that is something that really interests me.”