Schmidt providing offensive boom for Legion baseball teamJared Schmidt has always felt comfortable at the plate. “Ever since I was 12, I always thought I was a decent hitter,” said Schmidt, a left-handed hitting, right-handed throwing shortstop on the Mitchell Legion baseball team. “It’s most definitely the best part of my game.”
By: Luke Hagen, The Daily Republic
Jared Schmidt has always felt comfortable at the plate.
“Ever since I was 12, I always thought I was a decent hitter,” said Schmidt, a left-handed hitting, right-handed throwing shortstop on the Mitchell Legion baseball team. “It’s most definitely the best part of my game.”
Hitting fourth in the lineup all year, Schmidt continued his strong offensive season over the weekend to help Post 18 to a runner-up finish at the Fargo-Moorhead tournament, which concluded Sunday. He went 11-for-19 with five RBIs, six stolen bases, two walks and was hit by a pitch. In six games at the tournament, Schmidt had multiple hits in four of them.
“It’s going good for me right now,” Schmidt said. “I wouldn’t say the best stretch I’ve ever had, but it’s getting up there.”
Mitchell coach Luke Norden wasn’t overly impressed with Schmidt’s weekend at the plate, simply because the third-year Legion player has been doing it all year.
“I didn’t think he did anything overly out of his norm,” said Norden, whose 20-13 team hosts Aberdeen in a doubleheader at 5 p.m. today at Cadwell Park in Mitchell. “He’s kept doing what he’s been doing all summer. He stayed consistent for the weekend.”
When looking at Schmidt’s statistics, Norden’s comments are easier to understand. This year, Mitchell’s offense has been highly influenced by Schmidt.
Through 33 games, he leads the team in batting average at an impressive mark of .467.
In other major offensive statistics, he tops the team in runs scored (30), hits (50), triples (3), RBIs (36) and stolen bases (17). He’s also tied for the team lead with Evan Mastel with six doubles apiece.
“He’s been our big RBI guy all summer,” Norden said. “He did that again this weekend and the biggest part of that is the guys in front of him getting guys on base. Those guys get to take some credit for their on-base percentage.”
Schmidt entered the Legion scene after his freshman year of high school. That year, he was eligible to play with the 15-16-year-old teener team, but instead was moved up to bulk up the pitching rotation.
One of his big highlights that summer was his extra-innings, walk-off hit at the same Fargo-Moorhead tournament, when he came in as a pinch hitter to help Post 18 beat North Saint Paul 8-7.
Last year, Schmidt split time at shortstop and third base and also on the mound. Mitchell missed out at the state tournament last year, and Schmidt said it would be great for the team to get back this year.
“For me offensively, I’m there to help the team any way I can,” Schmidt said. “Everyone can get hits at any point in time, but I think that me being a team leader on the offensive end, I could spark up some more intensity through the offensive end.”
Over the weekend, Mitchell opened with a 10-9 walk-off win over Mandan, N.D., a game where Schmidt walked up to the plate and was ready to get intentionally walked to load the bases. But with Mastel on third and Schmidt waiting to get walked, Mandan’s pitcher had a wild pitch that went to the backstop to end the game when Mastel scored.
Schmidt went 3-for-4 against Mandan, leading up to what was a memorable 2-0 victory over Winnipeg, he said. Schmidt also had two hits against Alexandria and Moorhead, which are both Minnesota teams, and in the championship game against Omaha West (Neb.).
“It was huge for our team to make the championship game this weekend,” Schmidt said. “We’ve gotten a lot better since the start of the tournament.”