ACWORTH, Ga. - Ranked as the No. 25 pitcher on Perfect Game’s class of 2016 national rankings, Reid Schaller came out strong for the Evoshield Canes 16u against the Beyel Brothers Bulldogs on Tuesday at the Perfect Game WWBA 16u National Championship.
In his four innings on the mound, Schaller managed to keep the Bulldogs hitless and off the bases. Out of the 38 pitches he threw, 27 were strikes. He only faced three batters an inning and out of those 12, two struck out, five flew out and five grounded out.
“I was feelin’ it,” said Schaller about his performance on Tuesday. “I came out of the bullpen working on my pitching contact really. Just letting them put the ball in play and let our defense do the work.”
Perfect Game scout Jheremy Brown said Schaller has a “calm and poised delivery on the mound,” which allowed him to “pound the lower quadrants with strikes.”
The 6-foot-3, 186-pound right-hander plays baseball and football at Lebanon Senior High School in Lebanon, IN. However, baseball is his main interest. He pitched 37.1 innings in the 2013-2014 season for his high school team, and struck out 46 batters, which is well above the national average.
“I’m determined,” said Schaller, “determined to throw strikes. I just come out and battle.”
With growing interest from numerous colleges after the Perfect Game national rankings were released, Schaller began his college touring. He took trips to the University of Michigan, Indiana University and the University of North Carolina, but made a commitment to Vanderbilt University this past season. He said he wanted to get away from home – but not too far. He said the four and a half hour drive is “not too bad.”
“I was focusing on Virginia and Michigan [originally],” explained Schaller about his commitment, “I took a visit down to Vandy, and loved it. I instantly loved it, loved the team, the coaches. It’s where I wanted to be really.”
Like any young ball player, he would love to go pro one day, but emphasized how much he really wants to go to college. His dream team is the Oakland A’s and said he really likes them.
Schaller began attending Perfect Game events last year and said he “loves them a lot.” He started his Perfect Game journey with the 2013 Junior National Showcase. There were only three other rising sophomores attending this event. He topped out at 89 mph as a 15-year old. He returned to this year’s Junior National Showcase, but was only able to throw one inning.
“I was just coming out of a regional game in high school,” explained Schaller. “I was sore so I just came out and threw an inning. I tried to do the best I could.”
Schaller was named as one of Perfect Game’s pre-season second team All-Americans.
Schaller originally played summer ball with the Indiana Prospects, and came to PG events last summer with them, but returned this year with the 2013 WWBA 16u National champions. One of his coaches from the Canes reiterated that Schaller is a true team player, and has committed to playing with Evoshield Canes all summer, and has been playing with them previously, and not just for this tournament.
“Last year I was just getting used to travel ball,” explained Schaller. “Then I committed to Vanderbilt early in the season and that eased the stress. [Now] I just come out and throw, really.”
Schaller is humble and said the Perfect Game rankings and awards are unimportant to him, although always a good perk. He is simply here to play the game and enjoying being on the field with his teammates.
“I love the game. I love baseball, I love pitching. I just come out do the best I can,” said Schaller.
Schaller’s strongest pitch is his 87-89 mph fastball, but has a quality slider and curveball. He said his go-to pitch on a full count batter is his slider.
“The difference maker for Schaller in the outing was his slider in the low 80s, throwing it for strikes and keeping it low in the zone,” said Brown about Schaller’s performance in Tuesday’s game.
Schaller said his biggest strength is his determination to come out on the mound and battle. He said the biggest thing he wants to work on the most is his mechanics. His goals are to “get better, and get up to mid 90s.” Throwing consistently in the 90s has always been a goal of his.