Aldie, go. – When he was 5 years old, Tristan Shah started throwing a baseball with his older brother in their backyard. That catch game quickly turned into Shah playing organized Little League baseball before he started playing travel ball for the Aldie Senators when he was just 10 years old. It was after his first season with the Senators that he knew he wanted to play baseball at the next level.
“After my first season, I knew I wanted to play college baseball. I have worked extremely hard for the last ten years and have always wanted to be the best player on the field, “said 6-foot Shah. “From playing as a 10-year-old locally, to playing in some of the best tournaments in the country with Canes this past summer, there is no better feeling than winning a ball game. The feeling of hitting a big game or being up to bat with the game on the line is what drives me to be the best player I can be. ”
Five years after his first season of travel balls, Shah began playing at John Champe High School, where he has excelled both as a pitcher and cornerback. Now, with only one season left on John Champe, Shah has focused his future on the baseball diamond, as he has committed to playing at the University of Mary Washington from the 2021-2022 school year.
“It feels good to be engaged and finally finish the stressful recruitment process. I can now focus fully on getting better as a player, “said Shah. “I have been working towards this goal for the last ten years, so finally being able to achieve it is something I am very proud of.”
Shah will join a Division III Eagles team that has been in the national rankings almost 20 times since the program debuted in 1988.
“Mary Washington has an extremely deep history when it comes to baseball, and that’s something I wanted to be a part of. They have always been a top team in the conference and the country, “said Shah. “Their facilities are unmatched compared to any college baseball program. I really enjoyed the campus from the moment I stepped on it. Mary Washington also has strong academics, which was a big factor in my decision. ”
The Eagles – including Tuscarora-educated Cole Gabriele, Potomac Falls-educated Andrew Gerhart, Broad Run-educated Ryan Gorey and Loudoun Valley-educated Jonathan Sedmak – got off to a slow start in 2019 before the rest of the season was canceled due to COVID-19. Under second-year head coach Kelly Swiney, Mary Washington will look to bounce back in 2020 and enter the national rankings for the first time since 2016.
“At Mary Washington, I want to add someone who is ready to compete and make an impact from the moment I walk campus as a freshman,” said Shah, who will throw and play cornerbacks for the Eagles. “I want to bring my strong work ethic and hard work, as well as my leadership skills to every workout, practice and game.”
That work ethic and management is something John Champe will look for in Shah this spring. Before the 2020 season was canceled, the Knights finished 9-12 in 2019, including 6-8 marks in the Potomac District. After reclassifying to the 6A Cedar Run District in 2020, the Knights will have their hands full with the likes of Battlefield and Patriot.
“Playing for Champe has taught me to be a leader and has helped me grow, not just as a player, but as a person,” said Shah. “I’ve really enjoyed being able to represent my school for the last three years and look forward to doing it one last time for the senior year.”
While competing for a district, regional and state title is something all high school students strive for, Shah is also looking forward to completing his high school baseball career with some of his best friends.
“Champe baseball has given me many friendships and has helped me meet many new people,” said Shah. “I have played with the boys in the senior class since we were all eight years old, and we are all like family. Being able to complete my high school career together has been extremely fun and something I will never forget. ”