Baseball Athlete of Year
Royals' captain improved self, team through hard work
By MICHAEL S. DARNELL | STARS AND STRIPES Published: May 29, 2014
GRAFENWÖHR, Germany – Picturing a perfect high school athletic career might approximate something that resembles Matt Sharpy’s whirlwind tour through Ramstein High.
Recently, the Royals won the Division I DODDS Europe Baseball Championships, 2-1 over Ramstein’s greatest rivals, the Patch Panthers. In that finale, Sharpy drove in the winning runs with two outs and bases loaded in the final inning. For that reason – and his .714 batting average during the tournament – Sharpy was selected as the MVP of the baseball finals.
“I still can’t even believe it ended like that,” he said. “It was over so quick. It was a great way to end my high school career.”
And what a career it was.
Sharpy is a three-sport varsity champion, lettering in wrestling, football and perhaps most notably, baseball. He finished top of his weight division in the European championships in February and his football team came home champions after drubbing Wiesbaden in 2012. However, his performance on the field of play is just one reason why Royal’s coach Tom Yost says Sharpy deserves recognition.
“The thing that separates Matt from the rest of the pack is his work ethic,” Yost said. “It’s simply unparalleled – once he sets his mind to doing something, it’s going to get done, no matter what.”
Yost recounted times when Sharpy would approach the coaching staff with problems he was having with his swing. Instead of shrugging off the lessons Yost and the rest of the coaches gave him, Sharpy would spent hours during his lunch period and after school working on his technique, breaking down film and most importantly, passing on what he was learning to his teammates.
That work ethic and interest in improving the game of everybody around him is why the Royal’s coaching staff made Sharpy - the Stars and Stripes baseball Athlete of the Year for Europe - the team captain this past midseason.
“From that moment on the team took off to a whole other level,” Yost said.
While that level of dedication is impressive all on its own, what may be more so is the fact that he was able to juggle excelling in three different sports, while at the same time maintaining a 4.2 GPA with an honors and AP-heavy course load.
“It’s just part of that work ethic I picked up in sports,” he said. “You have to set high goals and don’t allow yourself to set low expectations. If you set those high goals, then anything is possible.”
With his DODDS sporting career at an end, Sharpy will now move on to the next stage in his life. At the beginning of the year, he had applied to the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado, but an old sports injury had left that particular avenue up in the air. The day before the baseball championships, he received the waiver that allowed his acceptance into the prestigious military academy to go through. Now, he’ll be attending the school that his father, Air Force Brig. Gen. Thomas J. Sharpy, graduated from back in 1987.
“It’s like you set a big goal for yourself and when you accomplish it, there isn’t a better feeling,” Sharpy said. “My dad told me that he’d support me in whatever decision I made. He was still extremely proud when I was accepted.”
Now that he knows the direction he’s going, the people who know Sharpy says he’s going to excel at leading troops one day, much in the same way he’s excelled at nearly everything else.
“He’s the kind of kid who knows what’s right and he’ll always do the right thing,” Yost said. “He is the definition of leading by example.”