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2024 Mr. Baseball: William Schmidt.


 



By ROBIN FAMBROUGH

Written for the LSWA

 

When he tried out for the Catholic High-Baton Rouge baseball team, there were no guarantees for William Schmidt.

 

Schmidt stood 5-foot-6 and weighed around 100 pounds as a freshman. But the secret to Schmidt’s success was already in place, according to Catholic coach Brad Bass.

 

“I’ve got pictures of him with two teammates now who were on that team,” Bass recalled. “Those guys were more than a head taller. William did whatever we asked him to do, wherever we put him.

 

“He’s always been a great teammate And, the thing he has always done as a pitcher is throw strikes. Not everybody can do that consistently and that was a tremendous foundation.”

 

Arguably, no one did it better than Catholic’s Schmidt, the 2024 Louisiana Farm Bureau Insurance/LSWA Mr. Baseball winner. The LSU signee led the Bears to the LHSAA’s Division I select title, a 38-2 record and a No. 1 ranking in multiple national polls this spring.

 

Schmidt is the second Catholic High player to claim the Mr. Baseball award, joining the Philadelphia Phillies’ Aaron Nola, who won the award in 2011.

 

The reference is notable because Schmidt broke one of Nola’s single-season school records by striking out 102 batters in 63 2/3 innings. He already has won the LSWA’s Class 5A Outstanding Player and the prestigious Gatorade Louisiana Player of the Year honor.

 

During a 5-0 victory over John Curtis in the LHSAA title game, radar guns clocked Schmidt’s fastball as high as 96 mph. The fastball is another reason why the 6-foot-4, 194-pound Schmidt is projected as an early-round draft pick in next month’s MLB Draft.

 

As he grew into his role on the Catholic team, Schmidt obviously grew physically. He committed to Mississippi State after his sophomore season.

 

Last summer, Schmidt earned a spot on the Perfect Game All-American program and made it to the final round of USA Baseball’s junior national team tryouts.  

 

“I think the motivation for me was to do everything I could to get better each day,” Schmidt said. “And to do everything I could for the team.

 

“I think back on it now and see whole team there (for 5 a.m. weightlifting). We worked for each other.”

 

Schmidt finished the season with a 10-0 record and a 0.44 earned run average. Opponents batted just .093 against him.

 

Yet his desire to improve, ahead of tossing a one-hitter against Curtis, had Schmidt scrutinize the fact that he gave up just 19 hits and 17 walks.

 

“A lot of runs that score start with walks,” Schmidt noted. “No walks … less runners on base.”

 

Catholic pitching coach Tyler Naquin says coaching Schmidt has been a dream. Watching Schmidt handle the pressure of competing at multiple national events validated everything Naquin knew.

 

“He’s a competitor, without a doubt,” Naquin said. “But his demeanor never changes. You never see him get too high or too low.

 

“He’s always going to put in work. Their personalities are different, but in that way … the way he handles himself …. he is a lot like Aaron (Nola). I can’t wait to see what he does next.”

 

 

 

La. Farm Bureau Insurance/LSWA Mr. Baseball

 1996: Joe Lawrence, Barbe

 1997: Chucky Son, Parkview Baptist

 1998: Aaron Lowe, Parkway

 1999: Nick Bourgeois, Barbe

 2000: Austin Nagle, Barbe

 2001: Austin Nagle, Barbe/Jonathan Zeringue, E.D. White

 2002: Greg Smith, Alexandria

 2003: Matt Greenwich, Parkview Baptist

 2004: Ben Soignier, West Monroe

 2005: Beau Jones, Destrehan

 2006: Forrest Moore, Parkview Baptist

 2007: Carmen Angelini, Barbe

 2008: Zack Von Rosenberg, Zachary

 2009: Zack Von Rosenberg, Zachary

 2010: Bryan Picou, Northlake Christian

 2011: Aaron Nola, Catholic-BR

 2012: Gavin Cecchini, Barbe

 2013: Jared Poche’, Lutcher

 2014: Chase Vallot, St. Thomas More

 2015: Kale Breaux, Sulphur

 2016: Nick Webre, Teurlings Catholic

 2017: Jacob Pearson, West Monroe

 2018: Cade Beloso, John Curtis

 2019: Cameron Meeks, Sam Houston

 2020: Season canceled

 2021: Jack Walker, Barbe

 2022: Ethan Frey, Rosepine

 2023: Donovan LaSalle, Barbe

 2024: William Schmidt, Catholic-BR

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