They say patience is a virtue, and one that few have. Nick Schmidt, a junior at Maryville University, had to practice just that summer as he waited for a spot to open up on the Hoots roster.
In 2021 and for parts of 2022, Schmidt played in the CarShield Collegiate League staying ready for a call. A spot opened up for the right-hander, and he has seized the opportunity.
“This summer, I was kind of waiting for a spot to open up,” Schmidt said. “I played in the CarShield League to pass the time and keep my arm in shape until that spot opened up.”
Schmidt’s arm certainly stayed in shape early as he did not allow an earned run for the Hoots in his first nine innings on the mound. On the season, he is 2-1 with a 3.38 ERA in 16 innings and 27 strikeouts. To Schmidt, a large part of his success is due to his comfort level in O’Fallon.
“Being comfortable has been the biggest thing and helped me succeed,” Schmidt said. “I think the environment we have with the Hoots is easy to be comfortable in so it’s easy to perform.
When he was asked to elaborate on the environment he alluded to, Schmidt talked about how fun it is just to play ball in O’Fallon
“The team, coaches and community are all geared towards having fun and enjoying time at the field,” Schmidt said. “It’s easy to show up everyday and hang out with the guys and it helps with performance in my opinion.”
Schmidt’s best outing of the season came on June 16 at Burlington. He was credited with a win that day, striking out seven over three innings. Fastball command was key that game, as Schmidt said it allowed him to open up the rest of his repertoire of pitches.
With the second half of the season now upon the team, the Hoots are looking for clinching a playoff berth to face Alton at season’s end. Schimdt says that despite coming up short in the first half, pitching will be key in the second.
“I think (good pitching) is contagious,“ Schmidt said. “When we throw it well, we win more ball games when we don’t.”
The Hoots’ success will likely come down to pitching, and Schmidt thinks he can play a key role in the staff down the stretch.
“I’ll be taking it one guy at a time, kind of like I have been,” Schmidt said. “Going to the park every day, getting our routines in, and just going out having fun and competing.”