Schmidt tough leader for Panthers

Colby Schmidt protects home plate during one of the Panthers’ district games this season. (Kathy Canady Photo)

Colby Schmidt protects home plate during one of the Panthers’ district games this season. (Kathy Canady Photo)

By Taylor Grafft

For senior catcher Colby Schmidt, this season has been about being tough and leading his teammates. The Liberty Hill Panther baseball team is off to a 16-5 overall record this year and Schmidt’s clutch batting and leadership behind the plate has been a big key.

His father, who played baseball in high school, was the first person that really impacted Schmidt’s baseball career. When he was younger the two would play catch in their backyard and eventually he joined little league around age 7.

Schmidt arrived in Liberty Hill in the fifth grade after his family moved from Pflugerville. Schmidt’s love and passion for the game grew as he got older and baseball is something that he says he’ll be involved in the rest of his life.

Schmidt joined the Liberty Hill Panther varsity baseball team his sophomore year and has been gaining confidence and skill ever since. This season he is more focused on his first love, baseball, and playing at the next level. In his sophomore year he was involved in football and his junior year he was involved in cross-country.

“I have wanted to play baseball after high school since I was little,” said Schmidt. “That’s why I am committed to play at Texas State University.”

As the Panthers focus on winning a district title and a state championship, Schmidt has used his leadership to make sure the team taking it one step at a time.

“Everyone wants the same goal on this team,” Schmidt said. “We all want a state championship and that’s why this team is special.”

Along the way, head Coach Mike Kristan has taught his players to strive to be the best they can be. However, Schmidt says that Kristan is a special coach because he doesn’t want us to just be good players, but also grow up and become good men.

This season has been different for Schmidt, who says that this team is a lot closer on and off the field than previously. He says that he can definitely tell the difference of how much more his teammates are committed to achieving their goals.

Schmidt has been one of the Panthers best hitters this season as he’s come up huge for the team in multiple games. He seems to always find a way to get that clutch base-hit that drives his teammates in, or that important extra base-hit that puts him in scoring position to give his teammates a chance to knock him in.

As a catcher Schmidt has to be mentally and physically tough. He says that he takes a beating from having to block balls and foul tips, but he’s also got to be prepared mentally to call the pitches.

“One of my strengths is I know I can block every ball that is thrown in the dirt,” said Schmidt. “I also think I can get a hit off of anyone who is pitching. There are some things I need to work on though. I do need to be more consistent at the plate.”

Schmidt has been working on that aspect of the game and how to prepare mentally much more diligently.

“I focus on getting loose in the batting cage and I think about how during the game I’m going to get a hit or how I’m going to call pitches to the opponent’s batters,” said Schmidt.

While Schmidt is focused on the field on helping his team win games, one of his favorite pastimes is watching the Boston Red Sox, which has been his favorite team since he was a child.