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Schmidt relishes role with Augie

Augustana University's Jed Schmidt delivers a pitch earlier this season for the Vikings. (Gene Smith / Augustana Athletics)

What a difference a year made for Jed Schmidt.

One year after pitching and manning the outfield for Mitchell Post 18, Schmidt was winning the NCAA Division II national championship with Augustana University.

Schmidt and the Vikings recently won the NCAA Division II national title in Cary, North Carolina on June 2. Schmidt and the Vikings capped off their magical season with a 52-9 record, culminating in a 4-3 victory over Columbus State (Georgia) in the national title game.

"It honestly still hasn't really sunk in being a national champ," Schmidt said. "It was a completely different experience than anything I have ever experienced before."

That's because not long ago, Schmidt was finishing his Legion career with Post 18.

"Just last year, I was a kid in small town South Dakota playing a baseball game on the road somewhere in front of a couple hundred fans or something and all of a sudden we are in North Carolina in some of the biggest games in college baseball this year," Schmidt said. "It was just a really crazy experience overall and I was so glad to be a part of it."

Schmidt praised the 10 seniors on the roster for lifting the Vikings to the title, which was the first in program history.

"They just wanted to win no matter what and I think that's what separated us from any team I have ever been a part of or any team that was out there this year is just the fact that everyone just wanted to win," Schmidt said. "Everything else was just put behind."

Five of the graduating seniors were pitchers and Schmidt will return with the most innings pitched (38 2/3) next season. This season, Schmidt finished with a 3-1 record, had 29 strikeouts and a 3.03 ERA.

Since there are innings to be had, Schmidt is attacking this offseason and plans on racking up the innings on the mound. He's currently playing for the Green Bay Bullfrogs, a collegiate summer wood bat team in the Northwoods League.

"As far as returners, I am going to be one of the more experienced ones on the mound," Schmidt said. "So this offseason is going to be important for me just to continue to get better. There is a lot I need to work on. So that is the big thing about up here is just getting better up in Green Bay."

Augie returned from North Carolina on June 3 and Schmidt left for Green Bay the next morning. In Green Bay, Schmidt will play with and against other collegiate players from across all divisions.

"It's very valuable having the chance to see what I need to work on," Schmidt said. "And see how to get guys out in our conference and see what also is working for me. It allows me this offseason to work on what I need to do better."