Baseball – Manasquan Left-Hander Sheehan Commits to Notre Dame
Manasquan sophomore left-hander Tom Sheehan has verbally committed to play baseball at the University of Notre Dame, Manasquan coach Dennis Van Pelt said Monday. Sheehan is the first Shore Conference player from the Class of 2017 to make a verbal commitment.
Sheehan and his family attended the Notre Dame football game against Michigan on Saturday and Sheehan made his commitment less than 48 hours later.
"In talking to his father, they really rolled out the red carpet for him," Van Pelt said. "This was one of his top schools before the process ever started and to have that school basically reach out to him and say, 'We really want you,' is just great."
Notre Dame is entering its second season as a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference and has posted two 30-win seasons over the first four years of coach Mike Aoki's tenure. Former Manalapan right-hander Kyle Rubbinaccio will be entering his senior season in 2015 and now Notre Dame has another Shore Conference pitcher on the way for the 2018 season.
During his freshman season with the Warriors, Sheehan went 4-0 with a 2.54 earned-run average in 30 1/3 innings. He struck out 45 and walked 20 while holding opponents to a .241 batting average, and one of his four wins of the season came against NJSIAA Non-Public A champion St. John Vianney, which finished ranked No. 1 in the state.
"From the first scrimmage I saw him pitch against Brick last March, I knew I had something special," Van Pelt said.
On the mound, Sheehan offers a fastball-changeup combination with a cutter and velocity topping out at 87 miles-per-hour, according to Van Pelt. He topped out at 85 miles-per-hour during his last appearance at a Perfect Game showcase and was also invited to pitch at a Major League Baseball Scouting Bureau event in Flemington, according to Van Pelt.
"He's got a live fastball and a great changeup and he hasn't added a breaking ball yet," Van Pelt said. "With all of the injuries to pitchers, we've been careful with him especially when it comes to throwing breaking balls.
"He's going to add some serious velocity in the next few years. He just turned 15 years old, so he's going to grow and add muscle."
Sheehan's commitment comes on the heels of Christian Brothers Academy junior Luca Dalatri announcing his intention to pitch at the University of North Carolina earlier this summer and before standout Barnegat junior left-hander Jason Groome has made a college choice. Sheehan will now pitch his final three years of high school with college already settled.
"Now he can relax and just go out and pitch," Van Pelt said. "With Tommy, you don't have to worry about where his head is. He wants to be great, and he's going to see this as just the first step. Now, all he's going to focus on is getting better."