West Xtra: Moon grad working on his 'craft'

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Myles Schmidt wants to become a better pitcher and an effective pitcher at the collegiate level.

A June graduate of Moon Area High School and the former ace of the Tigers baseball team's pitching staff, Schmidt does understand how much work he needs to put in this summer in order to fulfill his goal.

"I want to work harder with conditioning, especially lifting and running," said Schmidt, who lives in Moon Township. "I want to work on my mechanics and really get to where I know I need to be to become a good pitcher."

Since the end of his high school season, Schmidt, a 6-foot-4, 222-pound right-hander, has continued his efforts pitching for the Pittsburgh Spikes of the Western Pennsylvania Elite Baseball League. The WPEBL is a 10-team league for players 18 and younger that features some of the region's most talented young baseball players.

"This is a very good and competitive league," Schmidt said. "There are a lot of good players and the competition is the best I've been around.

"If you're a high school baseball player who wants to play at the next level and wants to face the very best competition around, you should be playing in this league."

Schmidt plans to enroll at La Roche College this fall and play baseball for its NCAA Division III program. He's already begun serving as both a starter and bullpen arm for his next coach. Chase Rowe, the head baseball coach at La Roche, also serves as coach of the Pittsburgh Spikes.

"Myles has been very good this season," Rowe said. "He's making adjustments and learning on the fly. He's coming around and has been very important coming out of the bullpen for us."

At Moon, Schmidt became the Tigers' top pitcher this past season and finished with a 4-1 record.

"He did a good job for us as far as being our No. 1 guy," Moon Area baseball coach Dom Santeufemio said. "He faced all the big teams in our conference and did a good job against some good teams this season.

"Myles has all the ability in the world. When he's on, he's unhittable and really good. It just depends whether he's having a good day."

Santeufemio noted how much his former ace has already developed and improved as a pitcher.

"In past years, he'd come out and pitch four or five good innings in one game, and then the next game he'd give up a bunch of runs in the first inning," Santeufemio said.

"This year, he didn't have any of those games where he got blasted or lost control. He was like night and day on the mound.

"It was a mechanics thing and he tightened everything up."

Moon Area went 7-3 in Section 4-AAAA this past spring. The Tigers finished their campaign 14-6 overall after losing to Canon-McMillan during the first round of the WPIAL Class AAAA playoffs.

"This past season was pretty surprising," Schmidt said. "I think I pitched well, but I can't take all the credit because I had some great defense playing behind me.

"We had a lot of younger kids step up. I had some pretty high expectations coming into the year and it didn't go as well as we would have liked, but we played well because the younger guys really stepped up and played hard.

"They're going to be good next year."

With an arsenal consisting of a fastball, slider and change-up, Schmidt continues to see a lot of success with his slider.

"His slider is devastating," Santeufemio said. "When he's throwing it strong for strikes, no one can hit him. He throws a heavy ball and its sneaky fast. He has a hammer slider and it sets up everything else.

"When he's able to get everything to click, he's going to be a great pitcher. He has every bit of the potential."

His new coach also agreed.

"The thing about Myles is that he has a tremendous upside," Rowe said. "He's a big kid with a strong arm and a very good breaking ball.

"I think the strong upside will show when he finally commits himself to conditioning and working on getting himself better."

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