Saturday, May 08, 2021

Sports Person of the Week

Sheehan Stays Composed for the Cougars


Alex Sheehan, a rising sophomore at Haddam-Killingworth, is having a great summer season on mound for the Shoreline Cougars 19-U AAU team. Photo courtesy of Alex Sheehan

Alex Sheehan, a rising sophomore at Haddam-Killingworth, is having a great summer season on mound for the Shoreline Cougars 19-U AAU team. (Photo courtesy of Alex Sheehan )

Alex Sheehan has been playing baseball since he was five years old. When he was eight, Alex started competing for travel teams, beginning with The Storm from North Branford and later joining The Grind of Orange.

Alex wanted to play baseball at the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) level. Last year, he started competing for the Shoreline Cougars—an 19-U AAU team based out of Killingworth—before joining the baseball program at Haddam-Killingworth High School in the spring. Alex returned to the Shoreline Cougars this summer, and Head Coach Dennis Annicelli has seen a big difference in his game on the pitcher’s mound.

“He came in as an 8th-grader who was wild on the mound, but he’s worked so hard on his pitch location and devoted himself to getting better,” Annicelli says. “He’s got a gifted arm and great composure and, when you combine those two things in 15 year-old kid, the sky will be the limit for him in terms of success in high school baseball and beyond.”

Alex has a record of 4-1 with a 2.34 earned-run average this season. On June 29, Alex threw a one-hit shutout and struck out 15 batters when the Cougars earned a 5-0 victory against the East Hartford Roadrunners.

“The season has been decent, and it’s different pitching against kids who are 19, but it’s fun. It’s been a whole new learning experience that helps me get better,” says Alex. “The kids are bigger, stronger, and better, so I have to use more stuff instead of just a fastball. The challenge is where it’s at.”

Alex has been working on his pitching skills for the past five years. He credits many of his coaches for helping him get better, including Mike Morris with the Grind, Mark Brookes, Ryan Fraser, and Ryan Fuller at H-K, as well as Annicelli.

“Coach Morris and Dennis always pushed me to get better and helped me with hitting and pitching,” Alex says. “Coach Fuller was also my English teacher, so he stayed on me about my grades, and I knew I could trust him with school and baseball. Coach Fraser is also a teacher and said I could stop by his office any time if I needed anything.”

In addition to being grateful to his coaches, Alex also feels happy to have the support of his parents, who he says “encourage me to strive to get better and go to practice.”

This past spring, Alex was called up to H-K’s varsity team for a game against Morgan during the middle of the season. Although H-K lost, Alex says that it was a good experience. Alex also saw some varsity action during the Class M State Tournament, where the club won its first two games, before losing to Wolcott in the quarterfinals.

Alex enjoyed his taste of varsity experience and is looking forward to his sophomore season, noting that H-K’s rising junior class is “very talented and I’ve always looked up to them.” Alex wants to get back to states next year, although his main goal is to help H-K claim the title.

“I hope to be able to start a lot of games and win a lot. I look forward to helping the varsity team,” says Alex, who also plays third base and the outfield. “We’re going to be really good the next two years. We’ve got a really good pitching staff, and it’s cool to be a part of it.”

Alex is gearing up to compete for the Shoreline Cougars during their fall campaign. He will also continue to train at indoor facilities throughout the winter.

Coach Annicelli says that one of Alex’s biggest strengths is his ability to stay on an even keel. Regardless of whether the score is lopsided or the score is tied, Annicelli says that Alex always “keeps his composure and goes about his business.”

Alex has worked on his composure throughout his career and credits his teammates and coaches for helping him along the way. Alex appreciates how catcher Sam Erskine does a great job of keeping him on track.

“If I’m having a bad game, he’ll come out and calm me down and he encourages me,” Alex says. “I just try to tone out what’s going on around me and set my eye dead straight on my target. I used to get mad, but I know I won’t play varsity if that happens.”

Jenn McCulloch is the Correspondent for Zip06. Email Jenn at .

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