Bon Homme's Riley Rothschadl raking at the plate during senior season
The Augustana baseball commit is hitting .700 with five home runs through seven games and recently had a four-homer contest against Centerville.
TYNDALL, S.D. — Riley Rothschadl doesn’t keep his home run balls.
He thinks they’re better served being used in play than being collected. Even against Centerville on May 1, he didn’t keep home-run ball No. 1 of the day.
Or No. 2. Or No. 3. Or No. 4.
But when the Augustana University baseball signee launched his fourth home run of the game, that ball didn’t see the field again.
“I didn’t keep that one either,” Rothschadl said about his fourth home-run ball of the game. “One of my teammates kept it and he was like, ‘I want you to sign this later.’”
Rothschadl has been on a tear during Bon Homme’s 7-0 start. He’s hitting .700 (14-for-20) with five home runs, 24 runs batted in and five doubles, but the highlight was his four-homer, 11-RBI performance against Centerville.
While it wasn’t his first multi-homer game of his life, it was his first in three-to-four years, he said, and it's the first time he's left the park four times in a game.
“I guess it was just one of those days,” Rothschadl said of his four-homer showing during a 20-1 win. “The game kind of got out of hand, so I didn't really have to play it smart or anything, I could just swing for the fences. And I guess I just ended up hitting a couple of them good and they ended up going out.”
The senior shortstop prides himself on being a do-it-all hitter and said the stretch to start this season is the most locked in he’s ever been at the plate. Just one glance at his stats proves his point.
He’s got more doubles (5) than singles (4) this season and has struck out once in 32 plate appearances while drawing 10 walks. Even his four-homer game showcased his ability to use different parts of the field at the plate, with two homers going to right and two going to center.
On the mound, he’s been nearly just as dominant, pitching to the tune of a 1.08 ERA with 26 strikeouts in 13 innings and just five hits surrendered. He’s tossed three hitless outings through his four appearances and said his fastball, which he noted was his most confident pitch, sits in the mid-80 mph range and has touched 90 mph.
And he’s doing that all while participating on one of the top the 4x400, 4x200 and 4x100-meter relay teams in Class A and competing on the golf team. On top of that, he was also the quarterback for the Bon Homme football team in the fall and a guard/forward on the basketball team in the winter.
“They all go hand in hand,” baseball coach Gary Kortan said of the different sports Rothschadl plays. "All the sports, just rolled into one help him become a better person. ... We try to promote to all of our kids that we want them to go out for everything, because for one, being in a small school, we need everybody we can. And he's definitely the leader in that."
With so much going on, his offseason training for baseball started not long before the season did, and it focused on a lot of tee work and front toss in the batting cage to get his swing ready. But playing the other sports has been a plus for Rothschadl on the diamond, helping to improve his athleticism and strength.
Obviously, once he gets to Augustana, the primary focus will be baseball. He said as a sophomore, there was a thought of playing football at the next level before he tore his ACL. That injury caused him to miss his entire spring baseball season his sophomore year and led him toward choosing baseball in college instead.
“It just taught me to be a better teammate to my friends and don't take stuff for granted because it could literally be taken away at any moment,” Rothschadl said of the injury.
With choosing baseball, the chance now to focus on one sport, as opposed to five, is something Rothschadl looks forward to as a Viking.
“I'm just excited to see how I develop because I never really focus on one sport. I just go from one sport to another,” Rothschadl said. “It just makes me excited for what the coaches are going to do, how I’m going to develop and how I'm going to get my game to the next level.”
For now, though, the star senior is tearing up Class B and looking to make a run with his team during the spring and summer seasons. And he’s proving, once again, to be an invaluable piece to the Bon Homme roster.
“I'd be lying if I didn't say that he means everything to us,” Kortan said. "He bats leadoff and he's been starting varsity since he's in eighth grade. We knew when he was in seventh grade that we had something that we're probably never going to see again or be able to coach again."