Prep of the Week: Rylan Schneider

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(ABC 6 News) — In the baseball world, it’s a badge of honor to get the ball for the opening day of the season.

The Rushford-Peterson Trojans gave that honor to Rylan Schneider and the junior delivered on a windy Thursday evening. Schneider nearly went the distance against Lewiston-Altura, going 6.1 innings and striking out six batters.

“I felt like it was a pretty good performance for it being the first game of the year,” Schneider reflected. “We got one canceled earlier in the week but you just got to bounce back and work hard on the next one.”

“Overall, he’s the whole package, true leader, brings energy to the squad, nice dude, ‘we over me’ guy,” teammate Jonah Bunke stated.

“Definitely a 10-out-of-10 teammate,” fellow Trojan Evan Skalet added. “He’s always there to tell you ‘You’re doing this right, and just keep working and stay hot.'”

For the past few seasons, the Trojans have been known for their defense. Their ace last year, Justin Ruberg, threw a perfect game; this year, they want to be just as good on both sides of the ball.

When Schneider came off the mound against the Cardinals, he immediately delivered a go-ahead RBI single. He may be the Trojans’ ace but surprisingly, he admits that’s not his best position.

“I definitely have to say in the infield,” the junior explained. “Pitching-wise, it’s alright but I love my first base. Definitely one of the better positions.”

When asked whether he likes offense or defense more, Schneider said, “I like playing on offense because you get to hit the ball and run the bases and that’s probably the best part.”

Schneider’s laidback approach is a calming presence for a young Trojans team that looks to improve upon its 12-8 finish last season. Longtime assistant coach Blake Lea is at the helm now in his first season as head coach; but the three words his team continues to emphasize are family, responsibility and commitment. Schneider is at the tip of the spear for all of those goals.

“He’s definitely a huge baseball guy, focused, getting in the reps, comes from a good family,” Coach Lea affirmed. “Good kid, good athlete all the way around in that whole group. He’s just a worker. He shows up to all the extra stuff we do in the cage, he’s putting in the extra time before practice after practice.”