Sports

Schmitz still has it when he’s on mound

ERIC SCHMITZ, shown pitching for UW-Whitewater, uses his experience to help younger Sheboygan A’s players. – Submitted photo

The good-natured ribbing isn’t too bad for the oldest guy on the Sheboygan A’s.

After all, Eric Schmitz is only 31 years old (as is teammate Mitchell Gardner).

“(They don’t call me) grandpa or anything, but I get a little bit of a hard time from them,” Schmitz said. “One of the guys asked if I was just going to ‘old man it’ this year. I told him of course. No, but me and one or two of the other guys on the team is married and that’s about it. Everyone else being younger and in college, it’s just a little different as you get older.

“But it’s a lot of fun yet.”

The Fond du Lac native who lives in Sheboygan is in his eighth season with the baseball team. The right-handed pitcher is 28-10 during that time with a 2.09 earned run average.

He played at UW-Whitewater from 2009-’12 and helped the Warhawks reach the College World Series his junior season, when he could throw as fast as 92 mph. Now, he says, he can reach maybe 85 on a good day.

Nonetheless, A’s manager Tim Moyer claims he would take Schmitz over any of the faster pitchers.

“Even though he doesn’t throw as hard now as he did in the past, he’s just a better pitcher and he knows how to get people out or let them get themselves out,” Moyer said. “And he wants the ball. Once he starts a game, he doesn’t want to come out. He just wants to pitch.

“He just loves it. That’s his thing. And he’s one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet, unless he’s holding a baseball 60 feet, 6 inches away from you.”

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