Quiet Clipper Has `Fire In Eyes'

Baseball: Patterson's Shawn Fisher Regards Others As Leaders, But His Numbers Make Him One, Too.

April 24, 1997|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,SUN STAFF

At 5 feet 9 inches tall and 160 pounds, Shawn Fisher is not exactly what you would call an imposing presence. And if you ask his Patterson teammates, he's not your rah-rah type of leader.

But watch him practice, or settle in to play shortstop or pitch on game day, and the junior becomes a terror.

"He's always playing with this fire in his eyes," said senior second baseman Joe Mirabile. "The guy just wants to win so bad," Mirabile added. "He's really intense."

Those characteristics prompted coach Roger Wrenn to start Fisher as a freshman, something he said "only a handful of guys have done" in his 26 seasons at Patterson's helm.

Though not as big a name as, say, second-team All-Metros Mark Teixiera of Mount St. Joseph, or Adam McKenzie of Loyola, or All-City/County Adam Heaps of Gilman, Fisher, who began playing baseball at age 6, was well-versed in the game's fundamentals when he arrived at Patterson.

His experience includes time with the Yankee Rebels and the Baltimore Red Wings, and he's rubbed elbows with McKenzie, St. Paul's Clemson-bound Justin Singleton, and left-handed pitcher Shane Rhodes of Calvert Hall. "When he first came up here, everyone got to know him, and you knew he knew the game of baseball because of where he came from and the players and the teams he'd played with," said senior catcher Mike Altadonna, a second-year starter. "He's got a good command of the basics, good hitting, control on his pitches, and he plays with a lot of confidence."

Fisher credits recreation league coaches Jimmy Dunn, whose son, Jim Jr., plays for Mount St. Joseph, and Rob Fazenbaker "for their hours of time invested in me. They took me to practices when my parents [Rae Lynn and Richie] couldn't."

As a freshman, Fisher said, he "did my job" and soaked up the atmosphere.

"I sat back and watched guys like [second-team All-City/County players] Mike Burrows and Willie McGirt, and I tried to take on their characteristics as far as being a leader," said Fisher, 17, who was 6-1 with 46 strikeouts and 23 walks in 33 2/3 inings last season.

"They were great role models in the way they practiced -- never joking around. They were business-like. If you got out of line, they'd let you know."

Fisher, who said that "now, I look to the seniors, guys like Mike Altadonna, Rich Kincaid and Joe Mirabile," is known by his teammates for practicing hard and leading by example. He has played a big role in No. 13-ranked Patterson's 11-0 start.

"He's like a little captain out there, even though he's only a junior," said Altadonna. "He's not a guy who's going to yell at you to get you going, but more the quiet type, down to earth."

But when it comes to playing, whether as a shortstop or pitcher, he gets serious, down and dirty.

As the Clippers' second batter, Fisher is hitting .522 with 16 RBIs, five doubles -- and a 415-foot home run in a win over Poly. He's also scored 13 runs and been successful on 10 of 11 steals.

On the mound, Fisher is 4-0 with 31 strikeouts in 25 innings, including a no-hit, 14-strikeout, 77-pitch win over Gibbons, and a 10-8 decision over St. Paul's, which won its second straight Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association B Conference crown and is now in the A Conference.

"He's got three pitches -- a fastball, curve and circle-change. He can throw them all for strikes," said Wrenn.

In the field, the coach added, "he's been a real good shortstop throughout the time he's been here. He's real fluid, with good range. He's going to get to a lot of balls that most others won't."

Added Mirabile: "He seems to always know where the ball's going to be."

Pub Date: 4/24/97

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