Former Eagle Shell transferring to AUM
After spending one year at Jefferson Davis Community College, former W.S. Neal Eagle William Shell is taking his baseball career and schooling to the Auburn University in Montgomery.
Shell, who graduated from W.S. Neal in 2009, played one year of baseball with the Warhawks in Brewton after a standout career in high school with the Eagles of East Brewton.
“First of all, it’s a blessing from the good Lord to be able to play ball after high school,” Shell said. “Growing up, every kid that puts on their Little League jerseys have expectations of one day making it big. Some are more talented than others, but some have more heart in what they do and their work ethic is better than others.
“I, by all means, am not the most talented on the diamond, but ever since I didn’t make all-stars when I was 13, I���ve had a mindset where I wasn’t letting failure happen again. Hopefully, that same attitude can carry me on further than just AUM.”
This past summer, Shell played in the Montgomery Metro Baseball League along with other Brewton natives Baxley Raines, Jacob Salter and Sam Sharpe.
In the league, Shell pitched in six games and pitched 19 innings allowing 14 runs, four earned, 16 hits, walked nine, struck out 16, and went 2-1 with a 1.47 ERA.
Shell said his first year at JDCC was an experience.
“I want to thank Coach Blevins for giving me a chance to play ball after high school,” Shell said. “Without him believing in me and what I can do, who knows, I might not have gotten to play anywhere. It’s crazy how the Lord works things out, with my arm troubles my senior year, but I know JD was right where God wanted me to be.”
Shell said at JDCC he met a lot of new friends and also, without coach telling him about the Montgomery Metro League, Jeff Davis might have been his last stop. Shell also said that college was a big wake up call, class wise as he thought that since he took Dual Enrollment in high school with JD, it was going to be like that, but he was wrong.
“My first semester I had to end up squeaking out a few passing grades or things would have gotten ugly at the house,” Shell said. “With my first year in baseball, it too was also an experience.”
In high school, Shell said he had a little slider he would throw and it got people out. In college, he discovered a new word—location.
“Guys in the ‘bigs’ (Major League Baseball) can throw 96, but if he leaves it belt high, it’s going to get hit, hard,” Shell said. “That was my main adjustment. I tweaked a few mechanics this summer (fastball grip, delivery, staying closed) and it’s had a big impact. Also, before JD, I never threw a changeup. With a lot of bullpen sessions (thanks to Alvin Hayes and Shane Ikner), I’ve finally been able to have the same arm speed with movement on the ball and keeping it low.”
The reason Shell said he is making the transfer to AUM was mainly because of Dual Enrollment.
“I was seven hours away from being a junior and I would have been wasting my time taking classes I didn’t need just to have enough hours to be eligible,” he said. “I had wanted to go to AUM out of high school, but it didn’t work out. After having a good summer of baseball I also made the all star team and didn’t participate because it was cancelled due to rain. I knew it was time for me to give AUM another try.”
From there, a meeting with AUM’s coaches was scheduled and after the meeting they offered Shell a walk-on spot.
“They said there wasn’t any money left for a scholarship because of how last minute it was, but if I can show up and get people out, it will become available in the future,” Shell said. “All I’ve ever heard about Coach Lowe was very positive and he’s pretty much a legend there, so I’m looking forward to just being a part of his team and hopefully being his best pitcher.”
Also joining Shell at AUM will be former T.R. Miller Tiger Raines.
Shell said it’s going to be good to have Raines on the team.
“He’s a great hitter and I’m sure he’ll contribute right when he gets there,” Shell said.
Shell said he will be going into education, with his major being P.E. and a minor being Special Ed and that he is going into education to coach baseball.
“It might not be most people’s ideal job, but after sitting at lunch every day of my senior year with Neal’s older Special Ed class, it really made me think about how lucky I am to be able to have the ability to play baseball, even walk for that matter,” Shell said. “I feel like I owe it back to them on how much those kids really mean to me.”
Shell is the son of Joey and Gwynn Shell.