Hard work, dedication, sacrifice and more hard work pays off. Just ask Shawn Forsythe. A walk-on to the Ohio State baseball program four years ago, Shawn has grown and improved from being strictly a bullpen catcher to starting his first game as a collegian…March 21 in game two of a double header vs. Army at Chain of Lakes Field, the Cleveland Indians’ old spring training home, in Winter Haven, Fla. It was an important day for Shawn and his parents, who were in attendance to watch, as they have been at most games over the last several years, but it was also important for the baseball program. Star catcher Dan Burkhart needs days off. Shawn gave the coaches confidence when Burkhart is off, Shawn will be “on.” Shawn spent five minutes with a reporter recently and had this to say about:

Starting his first game: “I really wasn’t nervous. I had caught a few innings before. I was just trying to focus on doing my job. It really helped with Eric Best on the mound. He’s an easy pitcher to catch.”

The thrill of playing time: “There’s nothing like it. I’ve been here four years and hadn’t had significant time before this year. I’ve been waiting and waiting. There’s nothing that can compare. Being on the team is one thing…an accomplishment, but it doesn’t compare to playing, starting a game and seeing significant playing time.”

His parents, Carolyn and Michael: “Can’t say enough about them. They’ve been here with baseball since day one. From tee-ball to little league to travel squads and now here. They helped me out with my decision to walk on. Now I’m in this position and it means a lot to see them cheering during a game and walking up to them afterward and getting a hug.”

Teammate-since-they-were-seven, Josh Barrera: “We went to the same high school. We both played football together, too. I’m really looking forward to getting in the game with him again. He’s just an easy-going guy who doesn’t complain much. He will come at you though if you come at him. He’s a good roommate. Always willing to joke around, go eat, play X-Box. He’s down for everything.”

Becoming a teacher: “I want to coach and I know that many coaches around Ohio are also teachers. So my foot in the door to coaching is to get a teaching job. I want to teach mathematics. I’m specializing in math and social studies because I’m not much of a science guy.”