From the moment Colton Shaver stepped in the batters box for his first Cape Cod Baseball League at-bat, the opposing pitchers feared him.
Shaver showcased his power to all fields from his first game as a member of the Wareham Gatemen, allowing him to rack up eight home runs and 29 RBIs – more than any player in the league.
The catcher out of Bringham Young University lead both categories nearly from wire to wire, before Harwich’s Austin Filiere tied him with his seventh home run of the year on July 27.
Shaver, however, was not to be denied. His solo shot at Yarmouth-Dennis this past Sunday put him back in front for good, with his eight home runs and 29 RBIs being just enough to spearhead him to the title in both categories.
Just one week into the season Shaver displayed his cause for success back at school. His production over his first three days playing for the Gatemen (.750 AVG, two home runs, seven RBIs) earned him Cape Cod Baseball League Player of the Week honors for the first of the season.
Shaver said he knew that despite his hot start he would have to make adjustments if he wanted his success to continue throughout the summer.
“I knew that I was going to come down here and work hard,” said Shaver. “It started off well, but I knew it wasn’t going to be like that all season. I worked on some things that hurt my swing at first but over time made it better.”
Over the final couple of weeks of the season, Shaver worked extensively with Gatemen hitting coach Don Sneddon to diversity himself as a hitter.
Shaver improved his ability to hit two-strike breaking balls to the opposite field, wait back on change-ups, and turn on pitches on the inner third.
That improvement was on full display this past Tuesday, when Shaver served a 1-2 breaking ball against Braves reliever Ross Rossomando into right field for a go-ahead two run single.
“We worked on getting my legs more involved while also making them quieter,” said Shaver. “Everyone else might have expected the home run after home run deal, and it was fun while it lasted, but I knew it was not going to be that way. I just put my nose in the dirt and kept working to get better everyday.”
Due to the performance of Shaver and teammate Cole Freeman, the Gatemen became the first team since Falmouth in 2013 to have a player atop the leaderboards in average, home runs, and RBIs.