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‘It’s tough’: Gorman plays on amid coach’s suspension, investigation

The Bishop Gorman baseball team’s bats were quiet in Wednesday’s 6-0 home loss to Shadow Ridge.

Gorman’s silence at the plate matched the silence around the program amid an ongoing investigation after the suspension of coach Chris Sheff.

Wednesday marked Gorman’s first game back in Las Vegas since the school told the Review-Journal on April 10 that Sheff was suspended and that it was investigating the baseball program.

The school has not commented since its initial statement.

Multiple parents at Wednesday’s game declined to comment on the situation.

Gorman appointed assistant Jeff Malm as the interim coach. His first games leading the Gaels were last week at the National High School Invitational in Cary, North Carolina. Gorman went 2-2 at the tournament.

“It’s been challenging,” Malm said. “There’s not a whole lot I can say. I’m not at liberty to say much. These guys are trying to show up and compete every day for each other and move forward with each game.”

Malm said April 5 was when the team was notified about Sheff’s suspension.

“We were just informed that coach Sheff would be away from the program, and that’s all we know,” said Malm, a former Gorman pitcher under Sheff who was drafted in the fifth round of the 2009 MLB draft and spent eight years in the minor leagues.

‘A day at a time’

Gorman (12-9, 2-3 Class 5A Desert League) managed just one hit against Shadow Ridge (11-13-1, 4-2-1). Players were not made available to speak after the game.

“It’s tough. They’re kids. They’re trying to do the best they can,” Malm said. “We had some travel, we had plenty of injuries. This team’s faced a lot of adversity this spring, and it’s just a matter of whether we can put it together these last eight games.”

Malm said he has not been given a timetable about how long he will be the interim coach, or the status of Sheff’s suspension or the investigation of the program.

“We’re just trying to take it a day at a time,” Malm said.

Gorman issued this statement last week through a school spokesperson:

“We had received some complaints that were concerning regarding our baseball program and are conducting an investigation. Coach Sheff has been suspended while the investigation takes place. We cannot comment any further on personnel issues.”

Sheff’s past

Sheff is in the second season of his second stint as Gorman’s coach. Last season, he led the Gaels to a 35-2 record and the Class 5A state title.

Sheff first coached at Gorman from 2004 to 2010 and went 228-45-2 in seven seasons, including five straight 4A state titles from 2006 to 2010.

Following Gorman’s 2010 title, the College of Southern Nevada hired Sheff as its baseball coach and athletic director, but he never coached a game at the school. Sheff hired former Basic coach Scott Baker as an assistant.

The RJ learned the same day of Sheff’s suspension that Basic told parents in an email message that Baker was “no longer with the team.”

There is no indication that Sheff’s suspension and Baker’s dismissal are related.

A few months into Sheff’s CSN tenure, the RJ reported that he was under investigation regarding allegations of inappropriately charging players for workouts and accusations of being verbally abusive toward players and having drugs in the team clubhouse.

The RJ reported at the time players were charged $125 per month to participate in workouts that were mandatory, according to multiple sources.

Sheff was fired after the results of a National Junior College Athletic Association investigation showed players were inappropriately charged for a conditioning program.

As a result of the investigation, CSN was penalized with a loss of 20 scholarships for the 2011 and 2012 seasons for three rules violations the program committed under Sheff.

Gorman next plays against Faith Lutheran at 2:30 p.m. Thursday at Las Vegas Ballpark. The Gaels are tied for sixth in the 5A Desert League, two spots out of a playoff position.

“Just stick together,’ Malm said. “We’re all a family. We’re all here for one another. Our staff is going to give them everything they’ve got. It’s up to these guys to pull the rope in the same direction.”

For Shadow Ridge, Kaleb Sturman drove in two runs on a single in the second inning. The Mustangs added four more runs in the fourth inning. Sturman went 2-for-4 with three RBIs, and starting pitcher Dylan Franco struck out seven and allowed one hit in five innings.

Contact Alex Wright at awright@reviewjournal.com. Follow @AlexWright1028 on X.

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