Shane Callison won’t soon forget the penultimate game of his high school baseball career. The soon to be Sobrato High graduate scored the winning run in the Bulldogs’ 5-4, eight-inning walk-off win over Branham High on May 13.
Callison was hit by a pitch, advanced to second base on a Tyler Pina base hit and scored on Thomas Martinelli’s two-out walk-off single.
“We all mobbed Thomas. That was a great moment and I’ll never forget it,” Callison said.
The victory capped a two-game sweep of Branham, which entered the final week of Blossom Valley League Mount Hamilton Division play tied with Live Oak and Santa Teresa in the race to win the league championship.
“Sweeping Branham was a big moment for us,” he said. “It was our Senior Night and to score the game winning run was awesome.”
A four-year varsity player, Callison signed his letter of intent to play baseball at Division II program Sonoma State in January.
“Knowing what I worked for my whole life and to see that point, that’s when it really set in for me,” he said.
As many athletes are doing nowadays, Callison leveraged social media in the recruiting process. He said Sonoma State contacted him first after seeing his video highlights online.
From there, Sonoma State invited Callison to one of its November baseball camps, where he did drills, batting practice and played in games. Callison said he performed well in the camp and took a visit to the campus in December, when Sonoma State made an offer.
“They liked that I was a lefty who was fast and that I found the barrel (on the ball) a lot,” Callison said. “But they really liked my speed and hitting.”
In a neat subplot to the story, the 5-foot-8, 165-pound shortstop also helped get his older brother Cooper, a 2020 Sobrato High graduate, a spot on the Sonoma State team. Shane made sure to have Cooper come along on one of his visits.
“I was taking BP (batting practice) and then he came down to hit,” Shane said. “They didn’t know who he was at first but were impressed with his hitting. They kept in touch after that and so it’s going to be pretty cool that we’ll be teammates again. I basically said this was a buddy package.”
The brothers are close and Cooper played this past season at De Anza College. Even though Cooper is two years older than Shane, the two often played on the same teams growing up.
“That was really special being able to have that experience,” Shane said.
Shane credits Cooper and their dad Dan for helping him develop the skills necessary to sign with a four-year program. Dan coached Shane from the time he was 5 until his eighth-grade year.
“My dad taught me basically everything I know,” Shane said. “He and my mom (Lora) supported me the whole time and I can’t thank them enough for that.”
Shane started playing T-ball at 4 or 5, but even before that his parents set up a tee in their backyard to get Shane acquainted with the game and his motor skills up and running from an early age. Callison said it was a huge accomplishment for Sobrato to get placed in the BVAL’s top division this season because the program had been striving for that in the last handful of years.
The Bulldogs finished 5-9 in league play, but the majority of those losses were by three runs or less. Their finish was good enough to clinch an automatic berth into the Central Coast Section playoffs, proving they belonged in the A league.
With a 4.35 GPA, Callison approached his academics in the same manner in which he prepared for a baseball game: with focus and determination. He took four Advanced Placement classes in his junior year and two AP classes as a senior.
“It was academics first and baseball second,” Callison said. “That’s how my parents taught me. They know what I’m capable of so I have to hold myself to those same standards.”
Callison can’t wait for the start of his college baseball career, noting he adjusts well to change.
“It’ll be a new environment and I like new environments,” he said. “It makes me work harder and I think I thrive in those situations. I just got to keep my head down and work. Probably the most fun for me is being able to work hard and then seeing the outcome.”
Sports editor Emanuel Lee can be reached at [email protected]