For The Tribune
Jacob Schult says he has competed in athletics for as long as he can remember, so it was only natural for him to play football, basketball and baseball when he entered Trinity Lutheran High School.
“I’ve always played three sports,” he said. “I’ve never had much of a break, and coming in I figured I’d play all three. Basketball is my least favorite, so I wasn’t sure if I’d play that all four years, but once football ended I figured I should keep playing to stay active.”
The football program was dropped at Trinity prior to the 2015 season, so Schult played three years of football at the school.
In baseball, Schult often finds himself on the mound.
“Mostly I’ll pitch and play first base,” he said of his baseball this spring. “I’ll play shortstop some when Sam Crick pitches. Last year I played everywhere but catcher. But this year, with my (knee) injury, it limited my mobility a little bit, so they’ll keep my in the infield and pitcher.”
Last week Schult reached a new height in baseball when he pitched a no-hitter against Rising Sun.
The left-hander struck out nine and walked three in the 8-0 victory.
“I’ve got three pitches,” Schult said. “I mainly just use two of them, a fastball and a curveball. I just work to locate my fastball, hit my spots, and the curveball I use as my strikeout pitch.
“I’ve always had a funky arm slot when I pitch. Most pitchers are righties. It’s just a different look, a new look, so the first couple innings I just try to use that. I try to establish a rhythm. I start with fastballs and when I get ahead I try to strike somebody out I throw a curveball.
“When I see a batter later in the game for the second, third and fourth time I try to mix and throw more curveballs, and use my changeup. I like warm weather the best.”
He said starting the batter off with a strike is the key to pitching.
“If you can get ahead in the count and get a strike on them, then you’ve got the batter guessing if you’re going to throw a curveball or a fastball, what speed you’re going to throw, what location,” Schult said. “You can get them to chase pitches a lot more. If they’ve got balls, they start looking for a walk and you’re forced to throw strikes where if you’re ahead in the count they might chase.”
The coaches call the pitches from Trinity’s dugout in games.
“But if I want to I can shake off the catcher and make my own call,” Schult said. “I like the outside fastball. When it’s inside it’s a lot easier for batters to pull. When it’s outside they’ve got to try to push it. A lot of hitters at the high school level struggle with that.”
A power hitter, Schult bats in the cleanup (No. 4) position.
“If we can get runner on from those top three hitters, then a lot of times I can place the ball,” Schult said. “I’m able to hit the ball to all fields, not just pull it. I can hit it a lot of places and try to score the runs.”
At the plate, Schult expects a fastball on the first pitch.
“I used to just try to time it on that first pitch,” Schult said. “I’ve got used to the speed now, so I look for the first-pitch fastball. As a pitcher I want to throw a first-pitch strike. That is usually the best pitch you’ll see the whole at bat. If the first pitch is right where you want it you can drive it.”
The senior missed 10 games this past basketball season because of the knee injury.
He said the thing he liked about basketball was the inside game involving scoring, defense and rebounding.
“I’ve never been a great ball handler, or a great shooter,” Schult said. “I’ve shot a little bit here or there. My biggest thing is my size (6-foot-2, 240 pounds) and strength advantage. I like getting down low and banging with the post. I think I can hold my own with just about anybody.
“That’s always been my position. This year I started shooting more jump shots, and 3-pointers here and there. I liked playing on the block. I’m a lefty so the left block has always been my preference.”
His top scoring games were 23 against Rising Sun and 20 against Salem, both this season.
Name: Jacob Schult
School: Trinity Lutheran
Parents: Michael and Sherry Schult
Siblings: Abby, Hannah
Sports: baseball 4 years, basketball 4 years, football 3 years
Athletic highlights: baseball, pitching no-hitter against Rising Sun, beating Seymour in finals of Seymour Invite, wining sectional in 2013; basketball: winning sectional in 2014.
Organizations: National Honor Society, student ambassadors, chess club
Plans after high school: attend Purdue Rose-Hulman, study mechanical engineering, play football
Favorite food: Chinese
Favorite TV show: Moonshiners
Favorite singer: George Strait
Favorite movie: Remember the Titans
Favorite team: Michigan Wolverines
Q: How was your senior basketball season?
A: “The home games were a great atmosphere. We always filled the gym. We had good support from the community. My favorite (away) gyms are the sunken like Brownstown, Orleans, Springs Valley and West Washington. I like that good atmosphere.”
Q: What’s the most difficult facet of baseball?
A: “The biggest thing about baseball for me it is just not a physical sport. There are physical errors, but 80 percent of baseball is a mental game, mental toughness. You always have to stay in the game. You’re going to get a bad bounce and you can’t control that, but you’ve got to control things you can control, and that’s what our coaches tell us.”
Q: Have you enjoyed your time at Trinity?
A: “I’ve loved it. It’s like one big family and all the teachers are willing to help you. I’ve made a lot of friends. Also some of the wins we’ve had I’ll remember.”