Tristan Shoemaker: Star on the diamond for Fort Defiance
Even with a wood bat Tristan Shoemaker's swing makes a loud sound when it he connects with a baseball.
"It's like the best feeling ever," said Shoemaker. "Using a wood bat, squaring one up and having that wood bat sound, sounds really good and also feels really good off the bat."
With a wood bat and glove in hand, Shoemaker is working on his baseball skills at fields around the Valley in order to keep his game in top shape with the 2020 high school season shut down due to COVID-19. Last season, as a sophomore, Shoemaker helped Fort Defiance advance to the semifinals of the Region 3C Tournament. The Indians defeated perennial power Turner Ashby in the first round of region play with Shoemaker making an impact at the plate and in the field during the victory over the Knights.
"The bus ride there was really serious," said Shoemaker, who plays shortstop for the Indians. "Everything was strict, even like before the game. But after the game, coach, he gave us honey buns, free honey buns."
Fort Defiance was hoping to carry momentum from last season's strong finish into 2020. Shoemaker along with right-handed pitcher Ryan Cook, who is committed to JMU, led a talented group that was poised to contend for a district, region, and potentially a state title this spring before the high school season was canceled due to the global pandemic.
"I missed the opportunity to play with a couple guys that I'll never be able to play with again," said Shoemaker. "We had a great team."
With high school baseball on hold until 2021, Shoemaker is now focused on the summer months. He is hoping to take part in both individual and team baseball events, with his club team the Richmond Braves, at various sites around the country.
If Shoemaker performs well over the summer, he could improve his draft stock among MLB pro scouts. He's already highly-touted and is ranked as the No. 6 player in the Class of 2021 within the Virginia/DC region by Prep Baseball Report. However, the Valley native is already committed to play at the University of Virginia where he hopes to make an impact in one of the best conferences in college baseball, the ACC.
"Go win a College World Series and then hopefully getting drafted after my third (college) year, fourth year.," said Shoemaker, of his goals after high school. " See if I can make it up to Double-A, maybe the big leagues."