Stratford’s Schmidt to play baseball at Winona State
By Hub City Times staff
MARSHFIELD – Stratford sports standout Chandler Schmidt is accepting a scholarship offer to play baseball next season at Division 2 Winona State (MN).
“It means a lot to my family,” Schmidt said after signing his commitment letter. “I’ve always wanted to play college athletics as a little kid, and it’s kind of a dream come true. I didn’t know it was going to be Winona State, but I’m excited to get started.”
Schmidt called Winona State’s team atmosphere a “brotherhood,” which he said reminded him of Stratford.
“Talking to the coaches, they seem like really nice guys,” he said. “They seem like they’re very knowledgeable. I wanted to go to a program that could compete at a high level, and it seems like their program is up-and-coming, and I want to be a part of that.”
Schmidt helped Stratford to a WIAA Division 3 state baseball championship in June, and he thinks that is what got Winona State’s attention.
“I was surprised that they wanted me for infield because I mainly pitch, but he (Head Coach Kyle Poock) said he was impressed on how I carried myself and how I hit the ball. He said he watched the two state games. Really impressed. The ball rolled from there,” Schmidt explained.
Schmidt added that he is not exactly sure where he might fit in for next season, “Hopefully I can get started right away. Hopefully I can find a spot in the infield somewhere and help them out. I’ll just do whatever I’m asked. It’s just nice that you’re going to a competitive program. Their name is always in the national tournament every year, and I just want to be part of a winning program, and I think Winona State is that.”
He added that he will have a big adjustment to make, going from the Marawood Conference to Division 2 college baseball.
“The biggest thing is the ball’s hit harder at you. The pitching is going to be faster. You’ve got better off-speed stuff,” Chandler stated. “I’m going to be working a lot with my dad (who has college baseball experience). The main thing is working on power and trying to use all fields to my advantage, and just reacting to the curve ball. Just keep putting in the work. Just keep hitting the cage. Get outside. Field some ground balls. I’m going to have people hit ground balls as hard as they can. It would be cool to play freshman year, and that’s what my goal is.”
The Warriors are coached by former Marshfield Chaparrals catcher Kyle Poock, who has been on the Winona State staff since 1994, and head coach since 2003. Chandler will study either physical therapy or education at Winona State.