The Bellevue Bulldogs baseball team’s most prolific hitter at the plate will continue his career on the diamond 3,295 miles from Bellevue College’s campus.
Bulldogs’ freshman infielder Austin Shenton, who had a .395 batting average to go along with 56 RBI and seven home-runs during the 2017 season, will play baseball at Division-1 Florida International University in Miami, Florida. The 2016 Bellingham High School graduate moved to Miami on Aug. 16. The Florida International baseball team will begin fall practices on Sept. 5.
Shenton is looking forward to making a sizable impact immediately.
“The coaches told me they want me to hit in the middle of the lineup,” Shenton said. “It is a really good opportunity for me. I’m focused on having a couple of good years here. Hopefully we will be going to Omaha (site of Collegiate World Series) and are winning a lot of games. Coming here (Florida International) was the perfect fit for me. It just made sense.”
Shenton said he will likely play third base and outfield this season for his new squad. Shenton is one of those rare players who bats left-handed but throws right-handed. The love for the sport of baseball began when Shenton was just 5 years old.
“My mom signed me up for T-ball,” Shenton said. “They also bought me a little whiffle ball machine thrower. I went into the backyard, filled it with whiffle balls and had it throw to me. That is kind of how it all started. I just really loved the game.”
Shenton credited Bulldogs’ head coach Mark Yoshino and assistant coach David Olson for fine tuning his game this past season.
“They both really helped me a lot to get in better shape, helped me do a couple of things with my swing and helped me become a better fielder,” he said. “They are such a positive influence in the dugout and in every facet of our lives.”
During his childhood, Shenton was a regular at the Inside Pitch baseball complex in Bellingham. Those countless hours of practice have paid dividends.
“I always tried to put in as many hours in as possible,” Shenton said. “Inside Pitch really helped me elevate my game to the next level. Working with those guys every day just helped me so much. That is where I committed myself to baseball.”