Trib HSSN baseball player of the week for May 27, 2024

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Monday, May 27, 2024 | 9:54 AM


Trib HSSN baseball player of the week: David Shields

School: Mt. Lebanon

Class: Senior

Position: Pitcher, center field

#Earned: Once again this past week, David Shields earned his keep with his arm and his bat. In Monday’s playoff debut for top-seeded and defending WPIAL Class 6A champion Mt. Lebanon, Shields got the start in the quarterfinals and didn’t disappoint Blue Devils fans or the many pro scouts in attendance. He allowed only two hits and struck out 11 as Lebo blanked Butler, 5-0. The next day, Mt. Lebanon fell behind Seneca Valley in the second inning, 5-0. The Blue Devils got a run back when Shields came to the plate and delivered a two-run triple. He later scored and the 2022 and 2023 district champs rallied to win, 11-5. Shields went 3 for 5 with two runs scored and five RBIs, setting up a rematch in the Class 6A title game as Mt. Lebanon squares off against North Allegheny at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Wild Things Park.

What coach says: “David had very good command of both his fastball and his breaking ball,” Mt. Lebanon coach Patt McCloskey said about Shields’ start Monday. “He did a great job filling up the zone, being able to throw a complete game with just 91 pitches. Because we had to play the next day if we won, it was very important that he threw a complete game and saved our other arms for Seneca Valley.

“He has really improved as a hitter as the season has progressed. At the beginning of the season he was getting on base a lot, but during the second half of the season he really started to hit for power. He’s also been an anchor for us playing great defense in center field all year.

“It was hard, because he threw a bullpen in late February on the field in front of some scouts and he was absolutely carving it up. He threw about 50 pitches and he maybe threw five balls. I thought he was going to smash every pitching record we ever had. It was hard for him to get so sick and then take such a huge step backwards with being ready. To his credit, he was able to throw a complete game by the Hempfield series, which was the fourth of the year. Once he got mono, our team goal was he would be ready to throw a complete game by the playoffs. David’s work ethic and willpower moved up that timeline by approximately four weeks.

“He does everything full speed on the field, and that’s how he leads. He never takes his foot off the gas on any aspect of the game. You saw how he had to pitch a complete game on Monday, and he must have been so sore on Tuesday. However, he was still flying around the bases taking the extra base, and he cut a throw loose and threw a guy out at second base. The kids on our team respect that effort, and playing through discomfort. David is all about the team all the time, and if anyone ever had any doubts, what he did offensively and defensively in the Seneca Valley game shows what he is all about as a baseball player, a competitor, and as a teammate.”

Background: Shields has committed to Miami to continue his academic and baseball career…maybe. The left- hander will likely be drafted high in the upcoming 2024 Major League Baseball amateur draft. The latest projections have Shields being selected in the second or third round. One year ago, Shields made history when he threw a no-hitter in the WPIAL championship game against North Allegheny as a sophomore. He took extra classes and tested out of his junior year, thus making this season his senior year. Shields got off to a slow start this spring after suffering from mononucleosis. He still believes he is not at 100%. Shields had played football his first two years at Mt. Lebanon and was the quarterback in 2022, throwing for more than 1,000 yards. He decided not to play this past fall to focus on his baseball training.

2024 Trib HSSN Baseball Players of the Week

Week 7 – Dylan Smith, Blackhawk

Week 6 – Brock Cornell, West Allegheny

Week 5 – A.J. Verdi, Mohawk

Week 4 – Jake Robinson, Montour

Week 3 – Gio LoNero, Seton LaSalle

Week 2 – Tommy Schafale, North Catholic

Week 1 – Ryan Petras, Bethel Park

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