George Washington University senior and Liberty grad Scott Sharp has been playing baseball for 15 years, but this season he's doing something new.
The two-time, All-Atlantic 10 selection has moved behind the plate after mostly playing third base in his first three seasons as a Colonial.
The change not only has solidified the Colonials' catching, but it's gotten Sharp a lot more attention from pro scouts.
"Scott's move to behind the plate has made him a bona fide draft pick and provides us with a quality top-notch catcher," said head coach Jay Murphy in the Colonials' preseason guide.
Sharp, an accountant major and honor roll student, has dreamed of playing professional baseball since his T-ball days in the Finksburg baseball program. After hitting over .300 for the second straight season in 1993, he was disappointed at not being picked in last June's draft.
The senior said his move to catcher could prevent him from getting overlooked this June.
"The scouts see a good catcher and they hop all over it. I've already had 10 times as many scouts come out this season than in the past," Sharp said.
"All I want is an opportunity. Playing professional baseball is something I've wanted to do just about all my life. I think I can do it if I can get with an organization."
Right now, the Sykesville native is more concerned with winning games at George Washington and learning his new position. After a 3-9 start, the Colonials won eight straight before dropping their last two in a three-game series against the University of Massachusetts over the weekend, evening their record at 11-11.
Sharp has enjoyed the challenge of playing behind the plate, where Murphy has given him the chance to call most of the pitches.
"The wear and tear is tougher more than anything else," he said. "I started both games on Friday and came back and started in the game on Saturday. That's a lot of innings, and I started losing my legs by the seventh inning.
"It's a lot more interesting back there. He [Murphy] lets me call most all of the pitches; once in a while, we'll get one from the dugout. I just try to be creative and use reverse psychology sometimes. I think what I'd be looking for if I were up and ask for the opposite. If I'd be looking for a fastball, I'd call for a curve."
Coming into the weekend series against UMass, Sharp was batting .250 with 11 RBIs and 13 runs scored. He has a solid .993 fielding percentage and says the transition to catcher or the attention from scouts hasn't deterred his hitting. Going into the season, he had a career average of .310.
"I've been hitting the ball real well, I've just been hitting right at people," Sharp said. I'm also used to the attention [from scouts]. I just always want to do well for myself and for the team."