By: Matt Jacobson (Online Sports Editor)
Sharon is known for its school system and family friendly town, but most people do not know that this town boosts some top tier athletes and coaches.
Toronto Blue Jays prospect Jake Fishman graduated from Sharon High with the class of 2013 and St. Louis Cardinals relief pitcher John Brebbia attended Sharon High for three years before moving to Florida.
Sharon High School varsity baseball coach Kee Arguimbau recalls how cool it was to be their coach, “As the pitching coach, calling games for those two guys was like watching a masterpiece unfold and I controlled the brush,” he said. “I’d call for pitches and they would put the ball precisely where I wanted it,” he added.
Arguimbau says he knew of Fishman’s potential from an early age, “[He] was hanging around the baseball field from the time he was in 6th grade, as I was coaching his older brother Nate,” he said. “I took one look at this little scrawny kid playing catch, then swinging a bat and I knew I would be coaching him on the Varsity team in a matter of a few short years,” he added.
Arguimbau predicted correctly, “By the time he was a sophomore, he was having an impact on varsity,” he said.
Fishman would sometimes win games single handedly, “In a tournament game against Wellesley, he pitched a 1 hitter and was the only player with an RBI as he drove in the only run of the game as we won 1-0,” said Arguimbau.
Fishman says he credits his school for his success, “Sharon High School made me a better baseball player by preparing me for college,” he said. “The educational foundation [Sharon High School] gave me allowed me to make baseball a priority while maintaining academic success,” he added.
He also credits his coaches for teaching him life lessons, “Coach Peckham and Arguimbau also taught me to never give up and to respect the sport more than anything else,” he said.
He was a Hockomock League All Star in 2013, but Arguimbau said that he should have earned more than that, “He should have been the league MVP, but it went to Dave MacKinnon from Oliver Ames, who went on to have an incredible career and break records for Hartford on the baseball field as well as the soccer field,” he said.
Arguimbau said that justice was served when he struck out Mackinnon during the playoffs to record the last out, “It was a as appropriate a situation as I’ve ever seen where things worked out as they should,” he said.
He even said that it was “biggest win of my coaching career.”
Mackinnon would end up being drafted in the 32nd round by the Los Angeles Angels in the 2017 MLB Draft.
Jake Fishman would play for Union College’s Division III baseball program where in his final year, he led the entire NCAA organization with an earned run average of 0.31 before he was picked in the 30th round of the 2016 MLB Draft. Fishman is currently pitching for the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, the Double A affiliate of the Blue Jays as a relief pitcher.
Before Fishman, however, there was John Brebbia.
“Brebbia was the best baseball player I have ever coached,” Arguimbau said.
He took over the team from a young age, “As a freshman he was a pure hitter, and possibly the best player on the team,” Arguimbau said. “He would go out and pitch a complete game shutout and go 4-4 with 3 RBI’s and we’d win 3-0,” he added.
Former teammate of Brebbia and current varsity assistant baseball coach Andrew Poliferno says that he was the teammate you wanted to have, “He worked hard, harder than most, and was a goofball,” he said. “One thing I distinctly remember was that he never acted like he was better than anyone. He was humble, respectful, and kind,” he added.
Arguimbau recalls when he realized that Brebbia was going to go the MLB.
“He pitched great and went 3-4 with something like 2 doubles, a single and a K,” he said. “John and his Dad proceeded to spend the next 2 hours in the cage doing [batting practice] after the game,” he added.
Poliferno talks about how hard working he was even after games, “It was normal for us to play a full 7 inning game and while the rest of us were walking off the field to head home to eat dinner or do homework, Brebbia would be taking batting practice in the cage after the game working on his swing,” he said.
When Brebbia made it known that he was going to move to Florida, Arguimbau wanted to plead his case on why he should stay, “I made a trip to John’s house at the end of his junior year to try to convince him to stay for his senior year,” he said. “We were going to win the Hock, but he knew that he needed to go to Florida to get more exposure,” he added.
Brebbia was drafted by the New York Yankees in the 30th round of the 2011 MLB Draft out of Elon University before he was eventually released in 2013. He returned to the minors in 2016 with the Cardinals organization after spending some time in the independent leagues for the Sioux Falls Canaries and the Laredo Lemurs. He made his major league debut for the big league team on May 27, 2017 against the Colorado Rockies. He still is currently on the major league roster claiming the last bullpen spot after spring training.
Poliferno says he is happy for his former teammate, “We want to see the good people and players rise to the top, and that’s exactly what John Brebbia has done,” he said.
Arguimbau said that he is pleased with where both of them ended up, “ I am not surprised at the success that Jon and Jake are having at the highest level of the game in the least bit,” he said. “I consider myself fortunate to have been able to play a minor role in their journey and look forward to the next Fishman or Brebbia that will grace my roster,” he said.