The Wild Things announced their second acquisition of the 2018-19 offseason, with the addition of former Monmouth standout Shaine Hughes. Hughes is an infielder that comes Washington’s way fresh off his first professional baseball experience with the Martinez Clippers of the Pacific Association.
Hughes had quite the career at Monmouth. His freshman season was cut short due to injury. He’d go on to be named All-MAAC three times, being awarded first-team honors in 2016 and 2018, and second-team laurels in 2017.
The Sewell, New Jersey, native finished his career at Monmouth in the top 10 of five different career-offensive categories. His 238 hits rank him 5th on the Hawks’ all-time charts. He’s sixth in doubles with 49, 7th in both RBI, with 148, and walks, with 92, and 10th in runs scored with 141. Hughes had a career slash line of .338/.434/.482 with 49 career doubles and 16 home runs. He struck out just 87 times in 839 plate appearances.
The successful collegiate career came on the heels of a stellar high school career at Washington Township High School, where Hughes won three varsity letters and his team won three conference titles. He was named All-Conference First Team twice and was named All-South Jersey as a senior.
He’d go on to sign his first professional contract and play for the Martinez Clippers of the Pacific Association, before agreeing to sign with Washington. The initial agreement hit a snag, but assistant general manager Tony Buccilli and Hughes weathered the storm, and now Hughes is the first position player to sign with the Wild Things this offseason.
“It is nice to finally sign Shaine after our prior efforts were met by a few roadblocks. We are very excited to bring in a rookie with such a touted offensive resume,” said Buccilli. “His career speaks for itself when it comes to extra-base hits, run creation, run production and on-base ability. He plays the brand of baseball we look for and his defensive versatility across the infield is added value.”
The infield versatility Buccilli talked about was shown in Hughes’ time at Monmouth and in the Pacific Association. At Monmouth, Hughes played third base, second base and first base, and played the first two of those while he was with Martinez.
Hughes hit .331 with the Clippers in 42 games and had on OPS of 1.006. He hit eight doubles and nine home runs, while driving in 31 runs.
Hughes said he had a great experience with the Clippers and is excited to get started with Washington.
“After I graduated and my name wasn’t called in the draft I knew I wanted to keep playing baseball. I played well with the Clippers, and that’s how I ended up with the Wild Things,” said Hughes. “I am very excited to be joining a good team who is hungry for a championship.”
Some of the differences Hughes said he experienced in the jump from the college game to the pro game centered around playing everyday and the pitching.
“The jump from college to pro ball really taught me a lot about the game and helped me grow as a player,” said Hughes. “Pitchers in pro ball are more comfortable with all of their pitches so you see a lot more 2-0 and 3-1 off speed. And playing everyday is different as well. There is a lot less time to dwell on a bad game or celebrate a good game. The next day everything starts all over and you have to do it again.”
The Wild Things open the season Thursday, May 9 at River City, with the home opener slated for Friday, May 17 at Wild Things Park.
ABOUT THE WASHINGTON WILD THINGS
The Washington Wild Things are a professional baseball team in the Frontier League that plays in Washington, PA. In 2018, the team won its first East Division Championship since 2007 and came within two runs of winning the first Frontier League title in franchise history. Fans and media can stay aware of all the happenings in the Wild Things’ organization by following the team’s social media and website, washingtonwildthings.com. Season ticket packages, with new-and-improved benefits are now available by calling the box office at 724-250-9555.