Clocked at 140 km/h, Dubai High School Pitcher's Fastball Lands Him Division I Athletic Scholarship in the US
Dubai, UAE – 14 August 2017: In a country known more for its bowlers and batsmen on the cricket field, the UAE has just produced its first baseball pitching phenom in Sean Fekete, a Hale Education Group student from American School of Dubai who was recently verbally offered – and has accepted – a Division I baseball scholarship to play at the highest level of intercollegiate US university sports. A rising senior and long-time veteran of the Dubai Little League, Fekete will be attending Sacramento State University in California in the fall of 2018, where he will be a member of the Hornets team in the competitive Western Athletic Conference. “It's always been a dream of mine to compete with the best of the best on the field,” says Fekete. “Now my dream has come true.”
Known for his 6 AM workouts at school regardless of season or weather, regular gym sessions after practice, and relentless drive to excel, Fekete has worked hard to continuously improve his prowess on the pitcher's mound. “None of this has come easy,” he says. “But nothing worth achieving does.” For the past five years, Fekete has been coached by Steven Fish of the World Baseball Showcases and has competed with the Perth Heat Colts U20 travelling baseball team in the US. Last summer, he played against the best international high school - and many current Division I players – and more than held his own. He struck out 14 players in a single game and turned heads with his versatile fastballs, sliders, and curveballs. He also plays Varsity Volleyball and Basketball at the American School of Dubai and has been a multi-sport high school athlete since the 7th grade when he was invited to play for the Junior Varsity baseball team with his teammates from the 8th-10th grade.
Coach Fish states “I recently discovered some old recordings of Sean when he was twelve years old, when I first met him. There were many other kids that day that had much better movements than Sean, but he was determined to go to the top regardless…And that's exactly what he's done.” Fish states that Fekete's success in securing a Division I Baseball scholarship is not only unprecedented for a student in the GCC, it is a rare achievement for any student living outside of the US. “I would bet that he is the only international student outside of Canada to receive a NCAA Division I baseball scholarship this year, and there would be less than five in the last fifteen years that have achieved this out of high school globally,” he states. Even for American high school baseball players, the odds of playing for a Division I Baseball program are slim – with only 2.1% of high school students making the cut. “None of this would have been possible without determination and grit – as well as the support of my family, coaches and mentors,” Fekete adds.
On the academic side, Fekete was mentored by Peter Davos of Hale Education Group, an independent educational consultancy focusing on US university admissions in the UAE. “What most people don't realize,” says Davos, “is that in the US, there is the concept of the student-athlete, with eligibility to qualify for athletic scholarships and to play at the intercollegiate level highly contingent on achieving academic and standardized test score success in high school. There is so much misinformation about how competitive it is to secure sports scholarships, that parents and students often lose sight as to how important academic preparedness is to the process – and just how slim the odds actually are to secure a sports scholarship.”
Despite being recognized this year as the overall ASD Male Varsity Athlete of the Year and having verbally committed to attending Sacramento State in the fall of 2018, Fekete is not content to rest on his laurels. “Every day I head to the baseball field, I think of the hundreds – if not thousands – of high school players like me working just as hard and looking to take my spot on a D1 squad. Having come this far, and determined to go even further, there is no way I will let that happen.”