Shirey signs on to become a War Hawk

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Liberty Hill senior Ethan Shirey, second from left, signed to continue his baseball career at McMurray University in Abilene on Tuesday. On hand for the signing were head baseball coach Mike Kristan (left), mother Sara Shirey and father Paul Shirey (right). (Lauren Jette Photo)

Liberty Hill senior Ethan Shirey, second from left, signed to continue his baseball career at McMurry University in Abilene on Tuesday. On hand for the signing were head baseball coach Mike Kristan (left), mother Sara Shirey and father Paul Shirey (right). (Lauren Jette Photo)

Senior baseball player Ethan Shirey will get to fulfill one of his childhood dreams of playing in college after signing to play with McMurry University in Abilene on Tuesday.

“That’s been a big dream of mine since I was little, but it’s bigger now that it’s actually happening,” Shirey said.

Introduced to baseball at an early age, Shirey has loved the game ever since.

“I actually started playing when I was really young, 4 or 5 and this is something I’ve always done since I was really little,” he said.

“I’ve played a bunch of sports throughout my life, but baseball is one of the biggest ones that I’ve always liked.”

In addition to baseball, Shirey was an offensive lineman on the football team this past fall, and will also play golf this spring, not an easy schedule to manage all the time.

“It’s kind of hard, but it’s going to golf tournaments during the day and then coming back and switching to baseball,” Shirey explained.

“It gets kind of difficult at times, but I make it work.”

Balancing three sports on top of school work shows the kind of character Shirey has, said head baseball coach Mike Kristan.

“Ethan is hardworking, coachable and a great teammate,” he said. “Those things will also help in the future at the next level and any career he chooses.”

Shirey is excited about “the family atmosphere at McMurry and the small town of Abilene,” he said.

“Hopefully it’s a lot of fun and a great four years.”

McMurry is an NCAA Division III school. Last season, head coach John Byington lead the War Hawks to one of their best seasons with a 31-13 overall record, and set a regular season record with 29 wins.

Shirey plans to pursue a nursing degree with the goal of becoming an emergency room doctor.

“My dad got a nursing degree when he was in college and it’s just something I’ve always wanted to do with helping people and becoming a doctor,” he said of his major choice.

His favorite memories from Panther baseball include bonding with his teammates and playoff victories.

“Probably playing sophomore year, when we played in Abilene actually, in the playoffs and meeting everybody and becoming a team and family,” he said.

With baseball season starting at the end of the month, Shirey is looking forward to helping the team improve on last year’s record.

“We didn’t do as well as we should have, but this year we’re a lot more mature and should do a lot better,” he said.

“Our rematch is Taylor and Salado because last year, they got the best of us in the second half (of district play), so hopefully this year we take it to them both times.”

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