Another Sharpley Added to Irish Baseball Team

With football season winding down, Irish fans can now look forward to the next season of sports at Notre Dame and spring football. While Irish quarterback Evan Sharpley will be battling for the open starting quarterback position this spring, another Sharpley will be fine tuning his skills as he prepares to join the Irish baseball team next fall. Meet Ryan Sharpley.

It's never easy for a younger brother to step out of the shadow of an older brother, especially when your older brother is a quarterback on scholarship at Notre Dame, but 6-foot-4, 185-pound Ryan Sharpley has had no problem doing just that.

The younger Sharpley excels in another sport, baseball, and happened to find his way to Notre Dame as a scholarship athlete as well. Recruited to both pitch and play in the infield for the Irish, the right-hander was a highly recruited prospect who should be an early contributor for new Irish head coach Dave Schrage and the Irish next season.

"Georgia Tech, Arizona, Arizona State, Kentucky, Northwestern, Virginia, Michigan and Michigan State were the main schools," Sharpley said of the competition that had pursued him before he ultimately chose the Irish.

"I did have a lot of schools (looking at me), I just felt most comfortable going to Notre Dame. It's a great institution. It provides great academics and athletics. You can't really go wrong with Notre Dame. I just had a good feeling about it."

Sharpley's strong junior season and summer league play opened the eyes of a number of elite college teams. The Marshall, Mich. native has had a lot of success recently both on the mound and at the plate.

"This past year I played on my high school team and we made it to the state semi-finals," Sharpley said. "Then I started playing with a summer league team that my dad coached. We had a lot of fun with that and made it to the Mickey Mantle World Series out in Texas."

Sharpley picked up four wins to lead his team to the state semi-finals in tournament play during his junior high school season, and finished the year hitting .368 as the starting catcher when not on the mound. He then led his Mid-Michigan Tigers summer team to the World Series berth with a 6-1 record, 1.84 ERA and 53 strikeouts in 38 innings, while also hitting .667 with a broken hand.

"Some of the schools wanted me for both, and some of them hadn't seen me hit, so they just wanted me to pitch," Sharpley said when asked where most schools wanted him to play in college. "Some had just seen me pitch out at showcases, so they hadn't really seen me hit. Most wanted me for both.

"I don't really have a preference. I definitely like both. If one works out better than the other, I'll just end up doing that."

The Irish ultimately won out for Sharpley's signature. The National Honors Society member, who maintains a 3.7 cumulative grade point average, said he was looking for the best of both worlds when looking for a school.

"I was looking for a team where I liked the coaching staff, and the college had good academics," he explained. "I wanted it to be fairly close to home. I also wanted to find a school where I just fit in, and Notre Dame obviously was that place."

"You can't really describe it," he said when asked what he liked about the new Irish coaching staff. "It was just something they had that stuck out to me. I could just sense it and went with my gut feel. I just believed what they were telling me, and I felt real comfortable with them."

Also playing a factor in his decision was the many top prospects that happened to be visiting at the same time as Sharpley.

"When I went on my official visit, every single guy ended up committing," he explained. "All those guys were great guys, and I felt real comfortable hanging out with them. They're all very talented. I'd seen a few of them play. I saw (Evan) Danieli on TV.

"Talking to them really kind of helped me make my decision. We all kind of talked about who we liked and had it narrowed it down to, but we didn't really make a pact or anything. It just ended up that we all chose Notre Dame. I think we all got along so well, and that helped, at least for me, in choosing Notre Dame."

While many high school athletes focus on a number of sports during the year, Sharpley will focus just on baseball from now until he enrolls at Notre Dame.

"I was going to play football but I broke my hand so I couldn't really do that," he said. "Now it's just baseball."

"It was my left hand," Sharpley explained when asked about his injured hand. "I got hit by a pitch and that's all healed up now. Right now I'm just lifting and trying to get ready for the season. As the season gets closer, I'll start hitting and pitching. I'll get ready for the high school season. I'm still trying to figure out who I'll play for this summer. I'll probably talk to the Notre Dame staff and get their input a little bit on it."

While Sharpley knows there will be plenty of comparisons between he and his older brother Evan, who also doubles for the Irish baseball team, the younger Sharpley was thankful his brother was there to help him with his decision.

"Just having him there, I actually knew what Notre Dame is about," he said. "I didn't worry about following in my brother's footsteps. It just happens that I really liked everything about Notre Dame and ended up there as well."

Note: Notre Dame Sports Information contributed to this story. Top Stories