Posted by Glenn Fredricks on Jun 23 2010 at 05:00PM PDT

Chargers’ Weeks takes charge behind the plate

If Glenn Fredricks was asked to choose the kind of catcher he’d want for his baseball team, he wouldn’t have to search long. Fortunately, the perfect backstop for Spotswood High School is already entrenched behind the plate. His name is Shawn Weeks.

“He is a leader that brings out the best in others,” said Fredricks, on a day off from coaching his Spotswood Greater Middlesex Conference Summer League and Matrix Select teams. “As the catcher, we needed somebody who could help the youngsters [two sophomores and a freshman] in the rotation. Shawn was the guy.”

According to Fredricks, Weeks quickly adopted a take-charge style behind the plate, literally calling pitches and directing infielder and outfielders depending on the hitters. But he has done so in a way that makes his teammates want to succeed.

“His value goes beyond catching,” says Fredricks of the 6-foot, 185-pound backstop who was a captain this past spring, along with all-state player Cody Pace. “Even as a junior, Shawn’s command on the field allowed me and the other coaches to focus on other stuff.”

That focus led to an outstanding season for the Chargers. While the record was 14- 13, Spotswood surged in the late season by winning the Central Jersey Group II championship before bowing in the state semifinals. It was performance that excites Weeks about the prospects for next year.

“We have a lot of players coming back, including the pitchers, who gained experience playing in those tournament games,” said Weeks. “We got a taste of what it takes to win against good teams.”

At the top of the list of returning players is Weeks who batted .329 for Spotswood, including 22 runs batted in and four doubles. While they are quality statistics, Shawn is certain he can improve in just about every facet of the game.

That is why Weeks is using this summer to improve his skills as a member of Fredricks’ Greater Middlesex Conference Summer League entry from Spotswood and the Matrix. He is again behind the plate catching those same young pitchers who will take to the mound next spring.

As a member of the Matrix team, which consists of players from other GMC teams, Weeks has been able to catch some of the better hurlers in loop.

“It was funny,” Weeks said. “Dave Rondesko from South River beat us three times last spring and we couldn’t figure out why. His stuff didn’t seem that dominant but he struck me out in a couple of key situations.

“I got to catch him last week for the Matrix team,” Weeks continued, “and I can see why he’s a winning pitcher. I put my mitt in a certain spot and he finds it. He has great control.”

Weeks kiddingly warns Rondesko that the knowledge he’s gained catching him this summer will come back to haunt the Ram pitcher when South River and Spotswood face each other next spring.

The rest of this summer will feature baseball in Weeks’ life. He was the starting quarterback on the Charger football team last fall, but Weeks made the tough decision to not play this fall so he could get, as he termed it, “more swings with the bat.”

“That’s really important if I want to play at the next level,” said Weeks, who will participate in showcase events at Brookdale Community College and St. Joseph’s in Metuchen.



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