Carrington's Shipman leading team into the postseason
Shipman has accounted for 27 of his team's 125 hits this season.
CARRINGTON, N.D. — Grady Shipman grew up watching his older brother, Jayden, play baseball for Carrington High School and then Valley City State University, and that experience has helped him star for the Cardinals.
“It comes from watching my brother’s teams succeed in the past,” Grady Shipman said. “I want to make our team like theirs and carry the history of Carrington baseball and take our team back to (the) state (tournament).”
Both Shipman boys have been coached by their father, Wayne, with the Cardinals.
“He would never admit it but he went to a lot of his college games so I would say it’s been a pretty big influence, getting to go the games and talk to other players and even the college coach talked to him,” Wayne Shipman said. “(It) made him feel important, I suppose, gave him a little ambition to someday be able to play in college as well.”
Recently, Grady Shipman, who is a junior, received a scholarship offer from Valley City State but said he is still undecided about where he wants to play. He said he learned a lot from his older brother about how to play the game and is hoping to follow in his brother’s footsteps by playing college baseball.
“It means I’m one step closer and hopefully there’s more offers on the table and go with what I think will suit me best,” he said.
This season, Shipman has spent time behind the plate, on the mound and as a shortstop.
Shipman is hitting .551, with four home runs, 18 RBIs and 23 runs, all of which lead his team. He has also stolen 14 bases and has yet to be caught. Shipman said his best skill on the field is his hitting.
Defensively, he has 13 assists and 43 putouts. On the mound, he has pitched 26 innings, compiling a 5-0 record with a 2.15 ERA with a .654 WHIP. He has struck out 53 hitters and only walked seven.
“I have a lot of confidence with the guys I have out behind me and my catcher that will call a great game,” Grady said. “If the ball is hit in play I trust my guys to make the play and we’ll somehow find a way to win.”
As his father and his coach, Wayne said he sees the work that Grady puts in behind the scenes. Wayne said he has seen Grady grow as a player by working out and continuing to practice.
“We have an indoor batting cage at the school, he wants to come over here quite often and hit so we do that, hit him groundballs at night or whatever and all that kind of stuff,” Wayne said. “He definitely wants to do good so if it don’t happen it’s not from lack of trying. He’s got a lot stronger this year too, so that’s why he’s hitting the ball a lot harder this year.”
Shipman said his best pitch is his changeup. He also throws a knuckleball, a four-seam fastball, a two-seam fastball and a slider.
Shipman said he prefers playing shortstop over catcher but he is prepared to do whatever the team needs him to do. Wayne said Grady has spent most of the season as a shortstop. Shipman has played four games behind the plate and nine games at shortstop this season.
“Honestly, in my opinion, his best position is catcher but that’s a brutal position,” Wayne said. “He’s starting to accept that. He’s a good catcher, he needs to learn to like it, if he learned to like that, his chances of playing college baseball would go up even more. … I told him he needs to catch because at the region tournament he might have to catch to help keep teams from stealing bases as much on us.”
The No. 2-seed Cardinals are preparing to play in the Region 3 tournament at 12:30 p.m. on Monday, May 22, when they take on the winner of the game between Nelson County/Midkota and Kidder County. Before that, Shipman and his teammates are excited to get outside and practice on their home field.
“I think they’re (being outside is) very important,” Grady said. “I think we should take everything serious throughout practice and do what we’re capable of.”