IRETON—West Sioux catcher Trevor Schuller left today on a bus to Principal Park in Des Moines with a team he has lead all season — a team that he hopes will be the first-ever in schools history to win a baseball state championship.
The No. 6 seeded Falcons will face No. 2 Van Meter at 4:30 p.m. in the semifinal matchup.
It is seldom that high school coaches put the job of calling pitches on the catcher but head coach Brian Engleman says he had to come up with something since he did not have an assistant coach during several games this season. Engleman has the utmost confidence in Schuller behind the plate and says there is noone better to lead the team into battle on the field.
“Having the coach trust in me to call the pitches all season is pretty cool,” Schuller said. “You don’t see teams with coaches that allow their kids to do that.”
“Trevor is a kid that when you are going to war, he is the general,” Engleman said. “He is the guy that calls the game from behind the plate.”
Schuller is a senior, but this is his first varsity season behind the plate.
“This is his first year behind the plate on varsity, but he has just done a great job for us,” Engleman said. “He is the one that calls all the shots.”
The catcher position is not new to Schuller however.
“I’ve been catching for as long as I can remember,” Schuller said. “Once I got to seventh and eighth grade I started having knee problems so catching was really hard as it would make the pain worse.”
This is what brings us to the beginning of the untold story of West Sioux’s Trevor Schuller.
“Trevor was told by the doctors he couldn’t catch after middle school baseball,” Engleman said which is why he hasn’t caught for the Falcons until this season. “This year, his senior year, he was cleared to catch and he has just been remarkable.”
Schuller says being cleared to catch has been “awesome” and he is thrilled to finally be behind the plate.
“I’ve loved catching for as long as I can remember so it’s really great to finish my baseball career in the position I love.”
The love of the game and competing is something Schuller says makes the team he is on stand out from past seasons.
“This years team is awesome,” Schuller said. “We have talent on the mound, in the field and at the plate. With that being said, that is not the reason we are good. Everybody on this team hates to lose and that is what has been a big part of our success.”
Engleman believes Schuller is one of the top catchers in the district and says Schuller has thrown out 45 percent of the runners who have tried to steal a base on him.
“I think the major league average is like 30!” Engleman said. “I mean that is just fantastic. He keeps runners from advancing that is for sure.”
Schuller’s favorite memory of throwing runners out was during the West Lyon tournament where he threw three runners who tried to steal on him. Schuller recalls throwing each one of them out.
While Schuller admits catching Hunter Dekkers somethimes be challenging, he also says it can be “breeze” as well.
“Catching Hunter is a challenge, he can throw harder than anyone I’ve ever caught,” Schuller said. “But, when Hunter is really in his game and hitting his spots, catching him is a breeze.”
Schuller believes it has helped that they have grown up playing baseball together — ever since elementary school and he has watched him progress on the mound as the years have gone by.
“If anybody thinks that catching Hunter Dekkers is a walk in the park well they need a wake up call,” Engleman said. “It is a very tough job to do in any condition, but what the untold story is about Trevor — is that he has a tear in his left shoulder and will need surgery right after the season.”
Schuller is scheduled for shoulder surgery Thursday, Aug. 8. Schuller says he isn’t exactly sure when the injury happened but the pain didn’t become unbearable until the middle of the baseball season. Schuller says he rests it and keeps it iced and just fights through the pain.
“It’s important to me to keep playing through the pain because I’m not read to end my athletic career at West Sioux!” Schuller said.
Engleman has been amazed at the heart and determination Schuller has shown throughout the season playing with the injury.
“He is a warrior,” Engleman said. “He goes out to play and doesn’t talk about the injury, he goes out and does his job. You wouldn’t notice it or think it, but that is just who the kid is.”
Schuller wants nothing more than to keep playing baseball as a Falcon. Either way, Schuller and his fellow seniors have only two more opportunities to play baseball wearing a red, white and blue Falcon uniform. He believes to win the semifinals and advance to the championship game his team will have to play ball the way they know they can.
“We just have to play ball like we can, do our thing,” Schuller said. “Put the ball in play and get outs.”
Schuller recognizes the talent of the No. 2 seeded Van Meter baseball club and says they will need to keep the ball on the ground, not pop up and keep Van Meter runners off the bases.
Schuller and company take the field at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 1 in the Class 2A semifinal game at the state baseball tournament in Des Moines. A win will bring Falcon Nation back to Des Moines Saturday, Aug. 3 to play in the championship game.