For junior infielder Travis Schuetze, the road to playing collegiate baseball has been an uphill battle. However, it is a path he is now conquering.
In his hometown of Corpus Christi, Schuetze was a successful all-district and academic all-state middle infielder for his high school team. He also made four appearances as a pitcher.
After high school, Schuetze was recruited by the Wildcats as an infielder. He redshirted his freshman year and expected to compete the next season as such.
“I came out the next year expecting to play the infield, but was moved to pitcher,” Schuetze said.
Head coach Britt Bonneau said he liked Schuetze’s arm.
“The first time we brought him out as an infielder however, it didn’t work out,” Bonneau said. “We decided to use him as a pitcher because he had such a good arm.”
In his first year of eligibility, Schuetze did not see much playing time as a pitcher. He struggled to get batters out and was eventually cut from the position.
“I was fairly new to being in the bullpen,” Schuetze said. “It’s a major jump from throwing in high school.”
He returned last season trying to earn another spot on the team as a pitcher. This time Schuetze was able to work more innings and appeared in 10 games out of the bullpen. Unfortunately, he faced the same problems as before and through 11.2 innings had an ERA of over 16.00. He allowed 21 earned runs and opposing batters hit .429 against him.
Schuetze was cut a second time and told the coaches he no longer knew what to do.
“We gave him the option to choose,” Bonneau said. “He told us he’d like to go back to being an infielder.”
Schuetze was also told 15 new guys would be trying out for the 2012 team.
“I told (Bonneau) that was fine and I had every intention to come back,” Schuetze said.
Schuetze was determined to prove himself after another bad year. He attended a summer ball season in Austin and in Corpus Christi.
When 2012 rolled around Bonneau knew something was different.
“He came back stronger and bigger,” Bonneau said.
The extra work resulted with Schuetze earning a starting spot in the infield and in all 18 games so far. He’s batting .286 with 13 runs and eight RBI.
Last weekend, Schuetze was given an opportunity to tackle his old nemesis, the pitching mound. He struck out the side in 1.0 inning of work.
“He has persevered through a lot of things,” Bonneau said.
“If you really want to do something you have to go out there and take it,” Schuetze said. “You always have to believe in yourself.”
Schuetze and the Wildcats travel to Cleveland, Miss. to take on No. 7 Delta State University. The doubleheader on Saturday and the finale on Sunday each begin at 1 p.m.