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The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

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Semi-pro World Series champion leads off Vaqueros bullpen

Semi-pro World Series champion leads off Vaqueros bullpen

With a national title under his belt, Vaqueros’ starting pitcher Brendon Shoemake (No. 35) has a strong career ahead of him.

The Santa Barbara Foresters, a semi-pro team that Shoemake pitched for last summer, won the title of 2012 National Baseball Congress World Series Champions.

“It was probably the best experience of my life,” said Shoemake, 20. “We had a pileup and everything after we won.”

Baseball has always been a part of Shoemake’s life. Originally from La Cañada, he started playing when he was too young to know his age.

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“I wanted to play basketball but I knew I wasn’t going to be 6’8” so I just stuck with baseball,” said Shoemake. “My dad really wanted me to play baseball. I ended up really liking it.”

His passion for the game can be seen and heard when he steps on the mound. Fans and teammates cheer him on and his family is always in the stands.

As a liberal arts major taking an average of 15 units per semester, his family plays a big part in his life.

“He wakes up in the morning and he’s driven to do well,” said Jodi Shoemake, Brendon’s mother.

Shoemake pitches an average speed of 85 mph.

“When I’m on a roll I’m not really thinking about too much,” he said. “I think about the pitch selection, what pitches I’m going to throw and who’s up. … The worst part is probably sitting in the dugout waiting to go back out again.”

He began the season with a sprained ankle that slowed him down and made it difficult for the anxious player to sit through games.

“That was kind of a bummer,” he said. “But I’m back now and I’m taking it week by week.”

Head coach Jeff Walker has helped Shoemake stay positive in his baseball career at City College after he was recruited to UCSB as a pitcher out of high school.

“I really like the coach. He teaches a lot more than baseball,” said Shoemake. “He teaches us about commitment and practice and how we’re supposed to play the game and live as student athletes.”

With an unexpected coaching change at UCSB and little stability, he decided to leave the Gauchos, stay in Santa Barbara and make a fresh start as a Vaquero.

With high hopes for the season, Shoemake strongly believes that the Vaqueros are headed for the playoffs.

“I feel like we’re gonna be top contenders in the league,” he said. “No promises but we should make the playoffs. I want to make the playoffs. … We have guys on the team, Stephen Reveles (No. 3) and Zach Zehner (No. 27), that are going to help us make the playoffs.”

The Vaqueros have a 6-7 record right now with their next game, which takes place 2 p.m. March 5, against Ventura College at City College.

“If someone doesn’t think I can do it, I want to prove them wrong and get as far as I can,” said Shoemake.

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