The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Advertisement
Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
A&M System’s Title IX director suspended after supporting Biden's Title IX changes
Nicholas Gutteridge, Managing Editor • May 23, 2024
Advertisement
Texas A&M pitcher Ryan Prager (18) delivers a pitch during Texas A&M’s game against Kentucky at the NCAA Men’s College World Series at in Omaha, Nebraska on Monday, June 17, 2024. Prager went for 6.2 innings, allowing two hits and zero runs. (Chris Swann/The Battalion)
Sixth sense
Neil Jhurani, Sports Writer • June 18, 2024

There’s nothing quite like Omaha when June rolls around.  Fans from across the country head to Charles Schwab Field to watch their teams...

Texas A&M outfielder Jace Laviolette (17) robs a home run from Florida infielder Cade Kurland (4) in the top of the ninth inning during Texas A&M’s game against Florida at the NCAA Men’s College World Series at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska on Sunday, June 15, 2024. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
Saves and a robbery
June 16, 2024
Advertisement
Enjoying the Destination
Enjoying the Destination
Cara Hudson, Maroon Life Writer • June 17, 2024

For the history buffs, there’s a story to why Bryan and College Station are so closely intertwined. In 1871 when the Texas Legislature approved...

Advertisement
Chris Hemsworth as Dementus in Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga.
Review: ‘Furiosa’ is a must-see
Justin ChenJune 4, 2024

My jaw dropped open in 2016. Rarely in life does that happen, but the viewing experience of “Mad Max: Fury Road" was something to behold....

Texas A&M pitcher Ryan Prager (18) delivers a pitch during Texas A&M’s game against Kentucky at the NCAA Men’s College World Series at in Omaha, Nebraska on Monday, June 17, 2024. Prager went for 6.2 innings, allowing two hits and zero runs. (Chris Swann/The Battalion)
Sixth sense
June 18, 2024
Texas A&M outfielder Jace Laviolette (17) robs a home run from Florida infielder Cade Kurland (4) in the top of the ninth inning during Texas A&M’s game against Florida at the NCAA Men’s College World Series at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska on Sunday, June 15, 2024. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
Saves and a robbery
June 16, 2024

Freshman Phenom

Freshman+second+baseman+Braden+Shewmake+has+impressed+at+the+plate+andin+the+field+for+the+Aggies+in+his+freshman+season.
Photo by Photos by Spencer Russo

Freshman second baseman Braden Shewmake has impressed at the plate and

in the field for the Aggies in his freshman season.

Braden Shewmake’s career at Texas A&M has been marked by positive first impressions.
When he showed up at the Aggies’ summer camp between his sophomore and junior year of high school, he impressed with his athleticism and potential. When he arrived at A&M in the summer as a college freshman it was with his maturity, work ethic and self-confidence. And through the first month of the season it has been with his tremendous on-field production.
The first time the Texas A&M coaching staff laid eyes on Shewmake was on that hot August 2014 day during its annual summer showcase. A bit of an overlooked recruit at the time, the tall, skinny infielder from Wylie had not come across the coaches’ radar to that point.
But after recruiting coordinator Justin Seely saw Shewmake run through some drills, he thought Shewmake had promise and immediately went to work digging up information on him. It took Seely only about three days to make up his mind — he liked the youngster and thought he could fit into the Aggies’ future.
“The intangibles that you saw when he was 15 or 16, you could tell he was going to be a good college player,” Seely says. “Now he’s turned himself into more than that — he’s got a shot to be a really good college player and play for a long, long time.”
Shewmake was relaxing in his room that September when A&M assistant coach Will Bolt called him on the first day the NCAA allows coaches to contact recruits. What followed was a 20-minute conversation and an invitation to come to College Station for a visit. During the visit, the Aggies came through with a scholarship offer.
“When it happened I was shocked,” Shewmake says of when he saw the offer. “I stopped and looked at my dad trying to figure out what was going on. He played it cool like he knew what was going on, but I had no idea.”
As they were leaving College Station later that day, Shewmake’s dad Shane, who has been the head baseball coach at UT Dallas since he started the program in 2002, badgered him with questions about what he thought of Texas A&M. Braden’s mind was all but made up.
“The first thing out of my mouth was ‘I think I want to go here,’” Braden Shewmake recalls. “I loved everything about this place. When they threw the offer down I knew this is what I wanted to do.”
A coach’s son
It isn’t difficult to see that Braden Shewmake is the son of a coach. He carries himself like an experienced veteran, he speaks with incredible polish and he looks advanced beyond his years at the plate. His competitiveness and work ethic are evident as well.
His father’s impact on his baseball career started the first time he picked up a bat. Shewmake started swinging it left-handed, which he soon learned was the side of the plate he was going to swing from no matter what.
“He told me I got lucky I was a left-handed hitter,” Shewmake says with a chuckle, “because if I was right-handed he was going to turn me into a lefty.”
Shane Shewmake always wanted his son to be a shortstop. He specializes in coaching hitting and infielders at UT Dallas, so it’s no surprise his son has dazzled in both aspects in his young career. Braden refined his competitiveness and never-quit attitude while playing quarterback on the football team and as an all-district basketball player, but it was the hours and hours he spent with his dad on the diamond where he learned the nuances of the game and blossomed into an elite talent.
“He’s been a huge help — I give him a ton of credit for everything,” Shewmake says of his dad’s influence. “I grew up taking ground balls with him. There were countless times where I was ready to get out of there and he was like, ‘No, we’ve got one more bucket.’”
That fielding prowess has been on display often so far in 2017. A natural shortstop, Shewmake thought he would play third base his freshman year, but with George Janca also in the picture, the coaches moved him to second base. Shewmake played shortstop in high school and mostly third for his summer team, the Dallas Patriots, but has made a seamless transition to his new position.
“For a guy that’s 6-foot-4, you don’t normally see a guy that can move the way he can on the infield,” says Bolt, A&M’s hitting and infielders coach. “It’s like he takes up the entire right side of the infield when he’s playing.”
Shewmake has made several highlight-reel plays in the field this year and has only made one error in 125 chances, so naturally the A&M pitchers appreciate having him behind them.
“He has incredible range, he’s really fast and he’s got a great arm on him,” says ace pitcher Brigham Hill. “You can’t ask for much more.”
All-Around Superstar
The Aggies have four different categories of position players in their program: hitters, runners, ballplayers and bombers. Each player gets a card in their locker at the beginning of the season with their group assignment, and each group’s batting practice and hitting drills are tailored to fit the characteristics of its members.
Shewmake is a “hitter,” but he could probably hold his own in any of the groups. He is one of the fastest players on the team and has been the Aggies’ best overall hitter so far this season, possessing both an extra-base power stroke and a team-high .393 average.
“He’s done a remarkable job,” head coach Rob Childress says. “He’s a great leader — he cares about winning and he’s into every pitch. He understands the game as good as any freshman out there and has an incredible amount of want-to.”
Shewmake arrived in Aggieland in July of 2016, just in time for him and his fellow freshmen teammates to enroll in the second session of summer school at Texas A&M. In addition to learning his way around College Station and taking six hours of classes, Shewmake began working out at A&M’s baseball facilities.
Joel Davis, the Aggies’ senior first baseman, vividly remembers the first time he witnessed Shewmake’s ability. The 6-foot-4 freshman was taking batting practice over the summer off senior shortstop Austin Homan, and Shewmake deposited five of the first six balls he saw over the fence for home runs.
Then, when Davis saw him carry that success over to fall intrasquad scrimmages, he knew Shewmake was going to be a special player. About halfway through the fall, Shewmake’s teammates knew he was destined to hit in the top three in the batting order on opening day.
“When I saw him in the fall, I knew anything was possible,” Davis says. “It’s almost to the point where when he does something amazing it’s just like, ‘Well, that’s Shew.’ It never really surprises me.”
Brigham Hill was another one of the veterans working out on campus over the summer break, and he quickly became close friends with Shewmake.
“He’s a great person — a very humble guy,” Hill says. “He was one of the hardest workers that I’ve seen from the freshman group and he has a very level head. You can tell when he’s out there that whether he strikes out or hits a home run he’s the same guy.”
To this point in the season, Shewmake has anchored the Aggies’ lineup and been one of the few consistent bright spots for an A&M club that has lost five of its first six SEC games. Heading into this weekend’s series against LSU, he leads the team in batting average, hits, RBI, total bases, doubles and stolen bases.
Shewmake’s 34 RBI are the most of any freshman in the country, and his 44 hits are tied for third in the nation among all players.
Shewmake vows to not get caught up in the numbers, though, as he tries to maintain his approach at the plate and continue barreling up the baseball.
“I try not to focus on the numbers too much,” Shewmake says. “My dad has nailed into my head all the time to have good at-bats and hit the ball hard. If you hit the ball hard you win; that’s what I think. I’m just trying to hit the ball hard.”
“He’s an animal,” says freshman outfielder Cam Blake. “The stuff you’ve seen so far is going to be the same stuff you see all year, and that’s a testament to the work he puts in.”
All in all, Shewmake is one of the most talented freshman the Aggies have had in a long time, and no one expects him to slow down anytime soon.
“Every time he goes up to the plate you expect something big to happen from him,” Hill says. “He’s super relaxed at the plate and you’re not worrying about him striking out — you’re worried about how far the ball’s going to go.”

Navigate Left
Navigate Right
  • Freshman second baseman Braden Shewmake scored the winning run in the Aggies’ extra-inning victory over Stephen F. Austin.

    Photo by Photo by: Morgan Engel
  • Braden Shewmake

    Photo by File
  • Freshman second baseman Braden Shewmake is tied for third in the NCAA with 44 hits and leads the Aggies in most offensive categories this season.

    Photo by Photo by Spencer Russo
Navigate Left
Navigate Right

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Battalion

Your donation will support the student journalists of Texas A&M University - College Station. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Battalion

Comments (0)

All The Battalion Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *