Sports fans will probably soon learn, if they don't already know, two PHS athletes -- Ashton Shewey and J.R. Szabo --ere seriously injured in an ATV accident Saturday morning.
Details of the accident which occurred on Mud Springs Road are sketchy but J.R.'s injuries were apparently more severe than those suffered by Ashton. Reports indicate J.R. probably suffered a broken arm or wrist and had several lacerations that required stitches. His football season is over. The injures Ashton suffered are not expected to adversely affect his pitching career.
The choice to recognize the pair in Sports Talk and as Player of the Week was in no way a sympathy gesture for what happened to the two.
I talked to Ashton Friday and penned Sports Talk before I learned of the accident. I was highlighting Ashton because of his tremendous involvement in baseball.
I chose J.R. as Player of the Week early Saturday morning -- also before I heard of the accident. I based that selection on his commitment and leadership during off-season football training.
Payson High School senior Ashton Shewey has his sights set on earning a Division 1 baseball scholarship and an eventual professional contract.
The hard-throwing left hander is hoping a scholarship offer is soon made by coaches and recruiters at the University of Arizona in Tucson.
Next spring when the professional baseball draft is held, Shewey anticipates he could be among those high school athletes selected.
Shewey says he's been contacted by some pro scouts, including representatives of the Phillies, Mets and Diamondbacks.
If he is drafted and the money is right, Shewey says he will pass on a college career and go directly to the pros.
To better prepare himself for a shot at the big time, Shewey gave up his prep football career last summer to concentrate on honing his diamond skills.
"Quitting football was tough, especially when I went to games," he said.
Last season, he was a starting linebacker for the Longhorns.
Away from the gridiron, Shewey focused on baseball as a member of Team Arizona.
The squad, made up of aspiring college players from around the state, traveled to Las Vegas, Anchorage and Seattle to participate in tournaments.
The team spent two weeks in Anchorage competing in an Alaska league that drew some of the finest teams in the U.S.
"We finished second there and were second in Seattle," Shewey said. "At Las Vegas, we were first."
In addition to pitching for Team Arizona, Shewey served as a designated hitter putting together a .384 batting average, he said.
His most effective pitches during the tournaments were a slider and a fastball that, he says, "is now fast enough that I can throw it by kids."
Last weekend, Shewey traveled to California where he played in several exhibition games on the campuses of Cal State Fullerton and Long Beach state.
Before leaving, Shewey anticipated pro scouts and college recruiters would be on hand for the games.
"It's a good place to get noticed," he said.
In addition to playing in the exhibitions and tournaments, Shewey has enlisted the services of pitching coach Cliff Robinson to help fine tune his mound skills.
But before there can be a college or professional career in his future, Shewey is being counted on next spring to be the Longhorns' ace pitcher.
He's projecting the team could have enough talent to play deep into the state tournament.
"We'll be young, but we'll be pretty good," he said.
If Shewey is drafted into the professional ranks as he anticipates, he would be only the second Longhorn baseball player to ever earn that distinction. Tom Canale was drafted several years ago by the Cleveland Indians, but has since stepped away from his pro career.