Antlers’ Clancy Shoemake – Athlete Spotlight Presented by Pine Cellular

By Nick Hampton

Baseball is a sport where talent and not size is the great equalizer. And it’s with that in mind that the game seems to have been invented for guys like Clancy Shoemake.

“I started playing baseball around second grade and we had a little team called the Cowboys that went undefeated for four or five years and so I’ve always had a passion for the game,” said the senior second baseman and pitcher for the Bearcats. “I’ve always been kind of small and I like that baseball is a sport where you don’t have to be big or tall to be successful. You can always catch a grounder no matter how big or small you are.”

Antlers has a new coach this year in Chris Gibbs who spent 14 years at Rattan and was the junior high coach at Antlers last year and is impressed by what he’s seen of Shoemake thus far.

“He’ll be our lead-off man. He’s got some quickness and is a good contact hitter. He’ll play second base and will probably pitch more for us this year than he has in the past,” said Gibbs.

Shoemake has been fortunate enough to be able to play with his older brother Talce the last few years until he graduated last year. He also grew up admiring the play of former Yankee shortstop Derek Jeter.

“I liked to watch him field and that move he would make where he jumped up, spun around and threw.”

Shoemake, who hit .350 last year, realizes the importance of his role on the team as the first guy up.

“I’m more of a bunt or contact hitter. My job is to get on and somehow get to second base so the big hitters can bring me in,” said Shoemake who is also in FFA, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and was an All-District football player as a defensive back though he also played running back and wide receiver.

As with a lot of the smaller schools, a good portion of Gibb’s team is just coming off the basketball court and though the Bearcats will be fairly young, Gibbs is optimistic about the future.

“We’ve got some talented freshmen that will help us and we’ve got a lot to learn. But I think we’ll be pretty competitive by playoff time and I think a lot of teams will be unhappy about drawing us by then.”

Following graduation, Clancy Shoemake plans to attend OSU-IT in Okmulgee.