BY STEVE KRAH
College Baseball Foundation gives its Brooks Wallace Award for both defensive play and offensive production by an NCAA Division I shortstop.
University of Evansville junior Simon Scherry is on the initial watch list for the 2023 award.
Scherry talks about his mindset as a shortstop.
“We get a lot of ground balls in practice,” says Scherry, a 6-foot-2, 190-pounder. “I’m making sure I can get to every ball and having the thought of making every play.”
Purple Aces head coach Wes Carroll works with Scherry and the other infielders.
Scherry and company also get to work with Jamey Carroll when the brother of Wes and a former UE player and 12-league big leaguer is in town.
Quickness is one of Scherry’s best athletic qualities. It served him well on the basketball court where 2020 Evansville Courier & Press Southwestern Indiana Basketball Player of the Year scored 1,119 points for his career and averaged 17.1 points, 7.8 assists, 5.3 rebounds and 3.6 steals per game as a senior at Heritage Hills High School in Lincoln City, Ind., and it certainly helps on the diamond.
The shortstop gets to balls that make his teammates marvel.
“I just trust myself,” says Scherry. “Having a quick first step is best for me.”
Scherry did consider pursuing college basketball. But he decided his long-term path is baseball.
“The end goal is to play baseball past college,” says Scherry. “If I had played basketball I wouldn’t have been able to put in as much work in baseball.
“At the end of the day, I decided to focus on that and try to get to the next level.”
Scherry notes an improvement in his offensive approach this season.
“I’ve worked a lot with Coach (Matt Wollenzin) this year on getting pitches I want to hit,” says Scherry. “My freshman and sophomore years I had the ability to hit pitches but they weren’t necessarily pitches I could drive early in counts.
“I’ve worked with (Wollenzin) on not swinging at pitcher’s pitches or even balls. I worked on pitches I wanted to hit.
“A lot of it for me is being on time for the fastball and trust myself on anything else. These guys throw hard. If you’re sitting on anything besides the fastball you have no chance.”
Heading into a Missouri Valley Conference home series Friday through Sunday against Indiana State, Scherry is hitting .278 (44-of-158) with two home runs, two triples, seven doubles, 19 runs batted in, 30 runs scored and 28 walks. He is 8-of-8 in stolen base attempts.
Scherry has been in the No. 3 hole in Carroll’s batting order.
In his first two collegiate seasons, Scherry combined to hit .290 with eight homers, one triple, 32 doubles, 83 RBIs, 77 runs and 31 walks while going 12-of-14 in stolen bases. He was all the MVC all-freshman team and all-conference honorable mention in 2021 and second-team all-MVC in 2022.
Scherry has started in all 151 UE games in which he has appeared.
Last summer, Scherry spent a week with the Cape Cod League‘s Falmouth Commodores and then with the Northwoods League’s Mankato (Minn.) MoonDogs. He was with the Ohio Valley League’s Dubois County Bombers in 2021.
Junior second baseman Kip Fougerousse transferred from Indiana to Evansville after the 2022 season and has started in 36 of 40 games in 2023 while transitioning from a corner infielder.
“He was up for anything,” says Scherry of Fougerousse, a 6-foot-3, 225-pounder and 2020 Linton-Stockton High School graduate. “He absorbed all the information that we gave him.
“(Moving to second) was a shock to him at first but he’s been great.”
Born in Jasper, Ind., Scherry grew up in Santa Claus, Ind. He played in a youth league there and then travel ball with the J Cards, Ironmen and in his 18U post-high school summer the Evansville Razorbacks.
At Heritage Hills, Scherry competed for two head coaches — Greg Gogel as a freshman and Andy Fischer as a sophomore and junior. As a 2020 graduate, Scherry had his senior season taken away by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Scherry was a middle schooler when he began working with Gogel and that continued into high school.
“That’s where I really learned how to use my feet and field a ground ball,” says Scherry. “You feet starts everything. Your hands follow your feet.”
Fischer taught Scherry to “come to the yard with the same energy everyday.”
“He brought a lot of energy and that translated to us players,” says Scherry. “I realized if I can bring that same energy I can make an impact.”
Simon, a Business Management major, is the youngest of Dan and Jill Scherry’s three children. Brother Samuel and sister Sydney are both Heritage Hills graduate. Dan Scherry was a baseball standout at Southridge. Jill Scherry is a Jasper graduate.