Broadneck senior gets a swing at baseball stardom with trip


January 10, 2002|By Joni Guhne | Joni Guhne,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

IT'S WINTER, WHEN athletes turn their attention to sports like basketball and skiing. But Broadneck High School senior Dan Short has baseball on his mind.

And he's not waiting for the warm weather to come to Maryland.

His bat, his glove and his cleats are packed and ready to go, and tomorrow morning he is to board a plane headed for the Los Angeles Dodgers' spring training facility in Vero Beach, Fla. With nearly 100 other high school athletes, Short, an 18-year-old second baseman, will play in hopes of catching the eyes of college and professional baseball scouts.

The three-day event - a dinner Friday, drills in front of scouts Saturday and games Sunday - is one of many across the country organized by the Columbia-based Baseball Factory.

The Baseball Factory seeks to connect high school players with college scholarship money, says founder Steve Sclafani. In the past two years, its clients have landed more than $40 million in scholarship money to play baseball for colleges across the country, according to the company.

Short understands how hard it is to make it in professional baseball. He says that although he might not end up playing in the pros, his skill at the game might help pay for college.

With a little more attention to academics, Dan could easily be accepted at the best colleges based on grades alone, his father, Dave Short, said. "Dan's a very good student," said Sean Tettemer, Broadneck's head baseball coach. "His parents are to be commended on the job they've done raising Dan."

Short scored 1,320 on the SAT and is thinking of studying sports medicine in college, he said.

As for which college he will attend, Dan Short said, "Anywhere I can play is where I'm looking to go. ... I'll get bigger and stronger in college and then look at my options."

"Dan works hard to put himself in position to succeed," Tettemer said. "He's well respected by his coaches and teammates. He has lots of potential. It's just a matter of putting it all together."

Dan, a 6-foot, 2-inch third-year varsity player who weighs 185 pounds, says he practices about four hours most nights.

"I hit and field, then go to strength and conditioning training," he said.

Dan said he developed his competitive spirit when he was young and trying to keep up with his older sister, Allison, a senior at University of Maryland, College Park who's planning to attend law school.

"I'm really proud of both of them," their father said. "We drove our daughter all over the East Coast while she was growing up to study dancing. She'll devote the same energy to law. Dan devotes four nights a week and weekends to his sport. I've never seen any two kids work harder at something they like."

Dan will be accompanied to Florida by his father and his mother, Debbie Short. A Californian by birth and a Marylander since early childhood, Dan is a diehard New York Yankees fan who laughs about "getting ripped by my friends when the Arizona Diamondbacks won the 2001 World Series."

Forget the Yankees. This second baseman's on his way to the Sunshine State.

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