Chesapeake first baseman Jake Shibilsky finished a stellar senior year in impressive fashion at the Brooks Robinson High School All-Star Game at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on Sunday.
The two-time All-Met was 2 for 4 with two RBI in the game, which featured 30 of the state's top high school players divided into North and South squads. He provided one of the most exciting moments, hitting a two-run, 393-foot homer over the left field fence in the top of the fourth inning to put the South up 4-0.
"I knew it was going to go the distance," Shibilsky said. "I was just hoping it would stay fair."
The game, played after the Baltimore Orioles' 4-1 victory over the Boston Red Sox, was a unique experience for Shibilsky and four other top players from Anne Arundel County schools. Along with Alex Buchholz (Old Mill), Chris Crum (Severna Park), Gary Helmick (Northeast) and Ken Misal (Southern), Shibilsky finished his high school career at a major league stadium, playing on freshly cut grass and seeing his name in bold letters on the center field video screen. Mike Newton of Glen Burnie, a graduate of Calvert Hall, played for the North squad.
The seven-inning game ended in an 11-11 tie.
For Shibilsky, the all-star game was particularly meaningful because of the challenges he faced this season. As a junior, he had been an All-Met pitcher who compiled an 8-1 record with 80 strikeouts and a school-record 1.75 ERA. But last October, he injured his left (throwing) arm while playing for his club team, the Maryland Oriolanders. Doctors repaired a tendon in his arm with one from his thigh, but he could not recover in time to pitch in the spring season. So he moved to first base and became a force at the plate, hitting .424 with four triples, 10 home runs and 22 RBI. He will play next season for Anne Arundel Community College.
"It would have been more special if I could have pitched [at the all-star game], but it's great to come out and just play," Shibilsky said.
Buchholz tripled in the top of the sixth -- the ball was inches from clearing the wall -- to score two runs and give the South a 10-9 lead.
"I thought it hit the warning track," said Buchholz, who didn't learn how close he came until he returned to the dugout. "You always want to hit a home run, but it got us the lead. I'll take it."
Buchholz, who will play for the University of Delaware next season, finished the day 2 for 3 with a walk and two RBI and won the South squad's most valuable hitter award.
Misal, who will play at Delaware Technical and Community College next season, started on the mound for the South and took home the award for the South's most valuable pitcher. In two innings pitched, he did not give up a hit, recorded two strikeouts and walked one batter.
"It was awesome," said Misal, who added that the special circumstances of the game didn't shake his concentration. "It was more than I thought it would be. I wish we could do this again."