If everything goes as planned, pretty soon Shawn Garrett will be headed to another baseball spring training.
For now, the South Central graduate is relaxing, deer hunting and pondering which team he will be playing for in about two months.
Garrett, who returned home a few days before Thanksgiving, has been playing professional baseball for 11 years. During those 11 seasons, he has been with nine different major league organizations and made eight trips to play winter baseball in places like Venezuela, Mexico and the Dominican Republic.
"I love playing winter ball," said Garrett. "I get a chance to pick up some more paychecks and play against a very good level of competition. They have a passion for the game down there. In the cities that have teams, the townspeople support us very enthusiastically."
Garrett has a .291 batting average through 11 seasons. The 6-foot-3, 220-pound slugger has 1,326 hits in 4,551 trips to the plate. He has hit 277 doubles, 47 triples and 116 homers in 1,228 games.
"Physically, I feel great, and I want to play as long as I can support my family and have a shot to make the majors," said Garrett. "I have built some great relationships, and hopefully that will continue."
Garrett has played for the Class AAA affiliates of Colorado, Oakland, Philadelphia, St. Louis and Seattle. He broke into Class AAA in 2004. Garrett started his career with the San Diego Padres in 1998.
Greenville College basketball player Meredith Banal, a Vandalia grad, scored 14 points and pulled down six rebounds recently in a 94-77 loss to Fontbonne University. Banal, who hit 7-of-12 field goal attempts, also had four assists in her 34 minutes of play. Teammate Susan Githinji, a South Central grad, finished with six points and four rebounds. Greenville is 4-5 overall and 2-1 in the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
Blake Doehring, a Vandalia grad, scored 13 points recently, but it was not enough for Blackburn College in a 79-67 loss to Webster University. He hit 6-of-13 shots from the field, which included one trey. He also had two assists. Blackburn is 1-7 overall and 0-3 in the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
Vandalia grad Eric Hobbie was held to eight points, but the McKendree University basketball team won anyway, beating Ohio Dominican University 63-59 recently. Hobbie also finished McKendree's final game of 2008 with seven rebounds, three assists and two blocked shots. McKendree has won its past five games and is now 12-4 overall.
Former St. Elmo basketball player Colton Booher, who now plays for Olney Central College, has 39 points and 17 rebounds this season, averages of 3.5 points and 1.5 rebounds per game. Booher, who has played in 11 games, also has six steals. Booher has hit 12 of 30 field goal attempts and 13 of 16 free throws. He has hit two treys this season. Against other National Junior College Athletic Association schools, OCC is 3-4.
South Central grad Beth Daugherty has played in nine games thus far this season. The Kaskaskia College freshman has 13 points, three steals, two rebounds and two blocked shots. In games against other National Junior College Athletic Association schools, the KC Blue Angels have a record of 3-5.
Names, names, names. Indoor track in some cases is already underway. Baseball and softball in some cases will start in approximately one month. If anyone wants to add a name to my growing list, please e-mail me (Dan62801@aol.com). I will need the name of the athlete, the former high school or city if that is needed, the college/university they are attending and of course, the sport they are playing. Please put "The Leader-Union" in the subject line of each and every email. The spring introduction article will run in February.