Freshman baseball player looking to make immediate impact

Freshman baseball player looking to make immediate impact

By Ted Ward, @TedWard_DE

When freshman infielder Jared Schmidt signed a letter of intent with SIU baseball, the coaches realized they had something special — not only because of his ability, but his physicality as well. 

“Usually, you can pick out who the freshmen are based on how they look,” said head coach Ken Henderson. “But that’s not necessarily the case with him because of just how physical and strong he is.”

Being the No. 1 ranked high schooler in the Tennessee, Schmidt was highly recruited, but chose Saluki maroon. He was teammates with Saluki sophomore infielder Logan Blackfan in high school.


Schmidt, a 6-foot-2 infielder from Cordova, Tenn., tied for second all-time at his school for most hits in a season with 59. He was named to numerous postseason award teams, including an all-state selection his senior year. 

Pitching coach P.J. Finigan, who recruited Schmidt, said his experience in another sport made him intriguing.

“He was a quarterback in high school. That helped him develop a solid work ethic and he’s a very tough kid,” Finigan said. “When it all comes together for him, he has a chance to be a very special player.”

Schmidt said the family aspect of SIU was a big part of his decision to sign. He said Saluki ballplayers are a tight-knit group of guys who all have the same goal in mind.

“I liked the culture they were trying to build here, and the family environment was something that I really enjoyed,” he said. “This is a great group of guys, and we’re working hard to compete for a Missouri Valley Conference championship.”

Despite being a great hitter in high school, Schmidt recognizes that he can improve. He has set out to get more comfortable with his swing and learn from his older teammates.

Henderson said the harder Schmidt works, the more opportunities he will get. Still, the Saluki coach isn’t sure when the freshman will make his debut.


“It’ll be a gradual process for him, as far as playing time goes,” he said. “He’s the only freshman infielder we have, and we’ve shown we’ll play freshman. It’ll just be [about] how well he does in the opportunities given to him.”

The Salukis hit the road to open the season against McNeese State at 6 p.m. Feb. 19 in Lake Charles, La. 

Ted Ward can be reached at [email protected] or 618-534-3303