College baseball: Jeff Sharnick taking skills to Dean College

Joining the Stratford High star are Ally Noccioli, Stratford baseball coach Mick Buckmir and Brian Sharnick. — Dave Johnson photo

Stratford High’s Jeff Sharnick will be attending Dean College (Mass.) to play baseball in the Division III New England Collegiate Conference for coach Ernie May’s Division III Bulldogs.

Sharnick has the perfect makeup to be a catcher. He also embodies all the qualities that make for the perfect teammate.

Neither fact was lost on Red Devil head baseball coach Mick Buckmir.

“There’s an old term for athletes calling a certain kind ‘gym rats’ and Jeff is a baseball version of one, as he spends as much time as possible at the ballpark working on his craft and skills,” Buckmir said.

“No doubt it’s his favorite place to be. Jeff is a hard worker, goes about his baseball business the right way, and his teammates see that and enjoy being around him. Dean College and his teammates there will be fortunate to have him.”

Dean finished May’s first season at the hemp with a 16-15-1 record.

“I played for Baseball U out of Fairfield for Mark Lambert, who had coached at Dean,” Sharnick said. “Coach May contacted me and complimented me as a player as well as a person so it was an easy choice.”

Sharnick committed last October, and will major in sports management and minor in business.

Sharnick loves to catch.

“I’ve caught pretty much been a catcher since I was nine, it’s what I was most comfortable with,” said Stratford’s four-year contributor. “But I used to be fast. Catching wears down the knees and I’m not so fast anymore. I like being behind the plate, you are in on every play and it’s your job to keep things going.”

Sharnick enjoys the interaction between pitcher and catcher.

“Every guy has a different pitching repertoire,” he said. “You have to know what they want to throw, when they want throw it. My job is to have them throw strikes, either called strikes or swinging strikes.

“If the pitcher is getting a little unraveled, I’ll go out to talk to get us back on the same page. I try to keep them in a groove. When they are pumping strikes in a zone, I look to keep the tempo high and keep the other team off balance. If he is beginning to struggle, I look to slow it down. Pitching tempo is important, you have to find what works.”

Sharnick appreciates support from teammates and family.

“My dad (Shawn) has done everything he’s could to give me a competitive advantage,” Sharnick said. “He taught me that you can’t take what happens at bat to the field, as a catcher you have to be focused on every pitch.

“If I have a good game or bad game my mom (Kellie) is always there for me. Together, they put me in position where I can succeed. My brother Brian just graduated from the University of New Haven and my brother Matt goes to Central Connecticut. They are both very supportive.”

Sharnick believes in positive energy.

“If you stay positive it can have an effect on everyone,” said the Stratford High Honor Society student and peer counselor. “I loved my time volunteering at Sterling Hose. It helped build my work ethic and showed me how important it is to appreciate other people.”

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