JUPITER, Fla. – Perfect Game All-American and all-around good kid Clate Schmidt was at the Roger Dean Complex early Saturday morning getting ready to pitch for Team Elite at the PG WWBA World Championship.
Schmidt, a 6-foot-2, 180-pound senior right-hander at Alltoona High School in Acworth, Ga., is PG’s No. 27 nationally ranked prospect in the class of 2012 (No. 9 at his position and No. 4 in Georgia) and has verbally committed to play college baseball at Clemson University. He could also potentially be selected in one of the early rounds of the 2012 MLB draft.
Schmidt enjoyed a high-energy, high profile summer that really kicked off at the Perfect Game National Showcase in June over In Fort Myers, Fla. It was at that event where he received his invitation to participate in the Perfect Game All-American Classic in San Diego in mid-August. In between, he played for Team Elite at both the WWBA 17u and 18u National Championships in Marietta, Ga., and also took part in the East Coast Professional Showcase in early August.
After two sessions of trials in early and late September, Schmidt was named to the 20-man roster for the USA Baseball 18U National Team, which will play a series of games against international competition at the COPABE Pan Am ‘AAA’/18U Championships in Cartagena, Colombia, Nov. 17-27.
Schmidt and his younger brother, Clarke, scrambled to get on a late flight out of Atlanta Friday night, but arrived here in time for Clate to catch a little sleep before pitching for Team Elite in 8 a.m. game against the Florida Hardballers. Before taking the mound, he took a couple of minutes to answer a couple of not-so-hard-hitting questions from Perfect Game:
Perfect Game: So, do you like pitching at 8 o’clock in the morning?
Clate Schmidt: It’s been funny, because the last two years that I’ve come here I’ve pitched at 8 in the morning. So this is like home now. I might as well wake up and go throw again.”
PG: This is your second year coming to this event. Is it something you’ve been looking forward to?
CS: Last year, it was awesome, and for the last two years I’ve been coming here and it’s been fun. It was funny because this year, for like the first time ever, I had a calendar I set up with all my events, and this one was on there and I’ve been looking at it. It was pretty funny.
PG: You have been named to the USA Baseball 18U National Team along with fellow PG All-American Classic East team members like David Dahl, Carson Fulmer and Jesse Winker, and several other top guys you’ve played with over the past couple of years. What do you anticipate that experience being like?
CS: This is a big thing for us and it’s just so much fun. Knowing each other for this whole time and then coming together, it’s been really fun. … It’s going to be insane; it will be my first time out of the country and I’m going to Colombia to play baseball. What else is there?
PG: Looking back for just a minute, how was your summer? Do you feel like your game has improved?
CS: The Perfect Game National (Showcase), that really just catapulted me. It was like one of those things like, ‘OK, I’m holding onto something, now just shoot me forward and I’ll go.’ But it’s really been just an awesome experience and seeing how all of this has evolved since I’ve been working since day 1 when I was 3-years-old out in the backyard. It’s awesome to see finally see it take off and lift up a little bit. I can’t be more appreciative of the people that have sacrificed to help me get here, and it’s just really awesome.
PG: At the same time, are you able to settle in and just be a ‘normal’ high school senior at any level?
CS: Well, when you have people coming up and saying, ‘Hey, do want to sign this?’ I’m kind of like, ‘Sure, but I go to school with you.’ But you know, you can’t ever let anything get to you, and my dad taught me a long time ago that if you have accolades come to you, you take them with a grain of salt. I’m just some normal kid outside of baseball, and in baseball I’m a normal kid until we have someone we have to (beat) and then I go psycho. It’s fun and I’m so grateful that I have the opportunity to actually do it, so it’s a great thing.
PG: With everything else that lies ahead, are you looking forward to your final high school baseball season?
CS: Oh yeah. We’ve been working for four years now and finally we actually think we can get a state championship. That’s one of the things we’re really looking forward to.
PG: After that, at what point do you start thinking a little bit more about Clemson and maybe even the MLB draft?
CS: It goes (high school) spring season, and then I’ll think about everything else. My first dedication is to my high school team and when we have the possibility of going somewhere deep (in the playoffs) and maybe even winning a state championship, that’s not just for me. That’s for my whole team. It’s going to be a real tough year but it’s going to be well worth it.
(Note: Clate’s Alltoona High teammates Lucas Brown, Nick Hall and Michael Royal are also on the Team Elite roster at the WWBA World Championship. Brown has committed to Northwest Florida State College and Royal to Kennesaw State).