High School Sports

Q&A with Sean Bartlett

In his free time, Sean Bartlett is a left-handed pitcher for the Hilton Head High baseball team. And he's quite successful in that role -- he's 14-5 over the past three seasons.

In his day-to-day life, Bartlett is devising a plan to save the world, one step at a time.

Bartlett, ranked second in Hilton Head High's senior class, will attend Vanderbilt next year on an academic scholarship. He plans to major in human and organizational development, a field only offered to a select few that is designed to find solutions for some of the world's bigger problems.

But first things first.

Before Bartlett shifts his focus to college, he is enjoying the final two months of his high school career with the Seahawks -- and thus far, there has been plenty to enjoy. Bartlett fired back-to-back no-hitters earlier this season in games against Hilton Head Christian Academy and Corbin, Ky., and he won a game Monday against region-leading Berkeley, which clinched the Seahawks a spot in the Class 3-A playoffs.

The Island Packet and The Beaufort Gazette caught up with the senior to discuss the Seahawks' playoff chances, his development as a pitcher and his unusual passion for homework.

Question: How amazing was the experience of throwing back-to-back no-hitters?

Answer: It was pretty cool. Going into the (Hilton Head) Christian Academy game, I was coming off an awful start, so I didn't know what to expect. I messed with some things trying to fix them. I still didn't feel like I was throwing as hard as I normally do, but it turned out well.

Q: Did you feel like you needed that first one to get your confidence back on track after a shaky start?

A: I went into that game telling myself, 'I have to have this game.' When it was over, I was relieved. And to get that second one against Corbin was just crazy.

Q: They say pitchers shouldn't think about no-hitters during the game -- easier said than done?

A: Going into the fourth inning, a kid from Corbin came up to the plate who was being real rude both games we played them. I was considering throwing at him, but those zeroes were in the back of my head. You have to be thinking about it. It's there. So I didn't want to ruin it.

Q: Was it a difficult adjustment throwing to a new catcher, freshman Brandon Johnson, when senior Ethan Olliff was lost to injury?

A: It's definitely different. There's a little bit of frustration here and there, but it's all about communication, talking with him and not getting overly frustrated. Brandon is a real good player. He asks a lot of questions and he communicates, which is all you can ask from him.

Q: Your win Monday against Berkeley clinched a spot in the playoffs. What are this team's chances of making a run?

A: Coming into the season, I really thought we had a good chance. We had a couple early hiccups, but right now we're looking as solid as we have all season. I'm really excited.

Q: What makes you optimistic?

A: I've really enjoyed this season. I think this team we have this year is more together than the last two seasons, even though this one didn't win region. We've obviously built upon that as the season's progressed. Going into the playoffs, we're a tighter group.

Q: As a curveball pitcher, do you take a different approach to the mound than most pitchers?

A: Yes. Compared to someone like (Seahawks pitcher) Cameron Stoltz, who throws the ball high-80s, I have to take a different approach. He's just gassing it by people. To have less velocity and a better curveball, it's all about getting that first strike and then being able to throw the curveball consistently for a strike.

Q: Any MLB guys you try to model your style after?

A: A combination of a couple. I'm a big fan of Andy Pettitte, and I know he's not exactly the best guy to currently be a fan of. I also like (Philadelphia lefty) Cole Hamels a lot. I've faded to them lately. But being from Massachusetts -- I moved here my freshman year -- you can't not be a fan of (Boston's) Jon Lester.

Q: So that would make you a Red Sox fan. Any guilt about liking Pettitte?

A: Eh, I liked him for the years he played for the Houston Astros. That's how I look at it.

Q: Let's shift focus to your college plans. What's in your future at Vanderbilt?

A: I have an interest in playing club baseball just to keep the passion alive. I'm majoring in something called HOD, which is human and organizational development. It's a combination of economics, entrepreneurship and just bringing everything together to solve problems in the real world.

Q: How do you get interested in something like that?

A: Long story, but to keep it short, I've been a science and math guy my whole life. I went up there to tour this past summer, and that was one of the unique majors they have. It's a select number to get admitted there. It's real difficult, and it's a challenge, so I figured, why not?

Q: How much time do you put into your academics?

A: Um, a lot (laughing). Lately, I have that whole senioritis thing. But it's still a good amount.

Q: What subjects do you enjoy?

A: I enjoy biology. I enjoy physics, and I'm a big math guy. It's weird, but I go home, and I actually kind of look forward to doing my math homework, as odd as that sounds.

Q: You realize "I enjoy homework" is going into the newspaper.

A: Yeah, you can get rid of that if you want.

Q: Do you find your intellectual ability translates onto the baseball field?

A: Yeah, definitely. Sometimes for the worst. I might be out there thinking too much. It's all about having the mental aspect and being able to think about where you are and what you need to do, but at the same time, you've got to be able to turn the page on something bad and move on.

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