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Evan Shapiro, Jake Bean preparing for MLB Draft, freshman years at Kent State

Jul. 6—The pitching pair of Jake Bean from Cardinal and Evan Shapiro of University just completed their high school careers with strong senior seasons on the mound.

Bean led the area with eight victories and strikeouts with 115 while posting a 0.49 ERA. Shapiro was hot on his tail as he racked up seven wins with 79 strikeouts and a 1.25 ERA. Both are set to continue their careers at Kent State.

However, both have attracted attention from multiple MLB scouts, as well, and are paying attention to the upcoming MLB Draft on July 9-11.

It’s a day they always had hope for but never thought could be a possibility. Both have improved as they develop as pitchers. They each had 10 or fewer walks last season while showing strong command against hitters from both sides of the plate.

“Obviously every kid’s dream is to play professional or Major League Baseball,” Bean said. “And it honestly seemed like something so far out and to be honest unreachable. But the harder I worked the closer and more realistic it became for me. It is a surreal feeling when I really sit and think about it. My brain can’t wrap itself around the fact that some kid from good old Middlefield, Ohio, is potentially going to get drafted this year.”

Even with eyes on them with the potential in the draft, neither saw their roles change during the season. They continued to be leaders for their teams and guided them to the best seasons possible.

Both have grown accustomed to being the ace of a program as they’ve both been used to being the guy their coach would turn to when they needed a big performance on the bump.

They received more attention as they completed their senior seasons, which they were accustomed to already.

“The responsibilities didn’t really change at all,” Shapiro said. “I still had a role to play in the dugout as the captain and be there for the team, and I can’t thank the guys enough for being so supportive of me and the process I was going through.”

The two never met in the regular season and played on different summer ball programs. They have had times where they had conversations about both the future and potential moments, whether in the college or professional ranks.

Both shared the same sentiment that it’s nice to have someone to talk about the entire process with. Whether it’s about the college journey, talking to scouts or the draft itself.

Just having someone there to converse with about everything has made the process a lot easier for both as they await their future.

“Well it’s funny because Jake and I basically went through the same process,” Shapiro said. “We went to the Super60 together and talked a lot there about our experiences. We talk a bit now about to catch up on what’s going on and we’re both supportive of each other.”

If they don’t hear their name called in the draft, the duo will be in the dugout and bullpen next season with the Golden Flashes. Both know that they are going to the best possible situation to help improve their future draft stock.

Kent State last season was led by Joe Whitman, who went 9-2 record with a 2.56 ERA and 100 strikeouts. Whitman is projected to be a first-round pick by multiple outlets.

Both Bean and Shapiro are excited about the chance to join a staff led by Mike Birkbeck and join arms including Ben Cruikshank, Benny Roebuck and Alabama transfer Gavin Jones.

No matter what the future holds, Bean and Shapiro are excited to see the future on the diamond.

“I would definitely say that there is absolutely no pressure or worry in my situation to get drafted,” Bean said. “Because if things don’t work out and an agreement isn’t made, then I am going to the top baseball program in Ohio. To work with the best pitching coach around. I am definitely not stressed about whether I get drafted or not .”

Shapiro added: “When you have the opportunity to pitch at Kent, there really is no worst-case scenario. The reason I chose Kent was to be a part of their staff and learn from such a great coaching staff, which I would still have the opportunity to do if I end up there.”