Spainhoward moves on

Shawn Spainhoward walks up to the pitcher’s mound. The batter steps up to the plate. Spainhoward’s teammates cheer him on.

“Shut him down Spain!”

Having been inspired by his brother and with his parents’ support, Spainhoward has been playing baseball for fourteen years. He has received a scholarship to pitch for South West Illinois College.

“Maybe at first the switch will be difficult,” Spainhoward said. “[The] only thing different will be that practice is going to be harder.”

Tim Fry taps gloves with Spainhoward and walks back to third. Spainhoward kicks the dirt mound and readies himself for his throw. The catcher signals and he nods his head in agreement. He winds up for the throw.

“Strike one!”

The excitement of the scholarship was only the beginning of his good news. Spainhoward will get to work with former Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds player Neil Fiala. Spainhoward will have the opportunity to learn what to expect from professional ball. Until then, he focuses on improving at every practice and game. He has made North history already by pitching a no-hitter against St. Charles West.

“We are excited to have him on our team next year,” Fiala said. “He will do a great job for us the next two seasons!”

He looks over his shoulder to see what Brad Hood is thinking. Looking down he smacks the ball in his glove. Then as quickly as he can, he throws the ball low and inside.

“Strike Two!”

Both of Spainhoward’s coaches are extremely proud of all he’s done. He’s grown with good teammates, good coaching and good determination. The road ahead for Spainhoward’s baseball career at SWIC is showing him a great look into the future.

“Under Coach Fiala’s experienced tutelage Shawn should experience great success,” FHN coach Bob Dunahue said, “and be able to continue his baseball career at a four-year school.”

The last batter stands with determination in his eyes. Teammates cheer. Coaches yell. Parents watch. With another kick at the dirt, he looks at the catcher, nods his head, then winds up the throw.

“Strike three! You’re out!”