Written by Matt Wixon
Cason Sherrod will silence you and the crowd and let his 96 MPH fastball speak volumes
Cason Sherrod was pretty much unknown, at least off the W.T. White campus, when he took the mound six weeks ago. But as Sherrod kept striking out Jesuit hitters, everything changed.
“It’s blown up,” Sherrod said. “Being injured last year, nobody really knew who I was.”
After seventeen strikeouts and no hits over nine innings, Sherrod was on the radar of college recruiters. The 6-4, 220-pound senior had expected to play for McLennan Community College, but he visited Oklahoma two weeks ago and TCU last weekend, and he expects an offer soon. Pro scouts are also coming out in droves to see Sherrod’s fastball, which has been clocked as high as 96 mph.
The scouts also see a pitcher who has no trouble blocking out distractions. One reason for that, until two years ago, was a secret.
“I don’t listen to the crowd,” Sherrod said, “but you know, sometimes I don’t really hear them.”
Sherrod means that literally. He was born two months premature and doctors discovered that he had a 50 percent hearing loss. It’s impossible to tell unless the well-spoken senior points you to the small hearing aids he has worn since sophomore year.
After moving to Dallas from Sioux Falls, S.D., Sherrod tried to get by without the hearing aids as a freshman.
“I was always so embarrassed by them,” he said. “I never really told people about my hearing loss, so when they called my name, I would keep walking and not turn around.”
Encouraged by family, friends and teammates, Sherrod now wears the hearing aids and is 5-2 with a 1.45 ERA. He has 53 strikeouts in only 431/3 innings for W.T. White (19-9), which is in the playoffs for the 32nd straight year. The Longhorns open a best-of-3 bi-district series Thursday night against McKinney Boyd (22-8-1).
“The pro scouts see that strong arm, and his arm is fresh because he hasn’t thrown that much,” W.T. White coach David Shepherd said. “He’s worked awfully hard to accomplish what he has, and shoot, I couldn’t be prouder of a player.”
Sherrod suffered a stress fracture in his back early last season, but he’s now in terrific shape – Shepherd said he might be the best-conditioned athlete he’s ever coached – and his pitching mechanics have improved. His fastball, in the low 80s two years ago, has bumped to the 90s this year with the help of private pitching coach Mike Taylor.
Sherrod’s improvement has been rapid, but Taylor doesn’t take the credit.
“It’s really about Cason and his work ethic,” Taylor said. “I don’t think that kid’s feet have ever touched the floor in the morning without having a goal in mind.”
For now, Sherrod’s only goal is to pitch as well as possible. If he does that, big things are sure to follow.
“It’s been fun,” he said. “I’m very blessed to be in the position I’m in.”