Framing his junior season
April 27, 2022
With the Antioch Community High School baseball season finally underway, a new face has risen to the spotlight. Junior TJ Schuyler will play his first full year of high school baseball. Schuyler’s freshman year of ACHS baseball was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and with a pushed-back sophomore season, Schuyler decided to play in the spring with his travel team. Now that his junior season has arisen, Schuyler will get his first real taste of Sequoit baseball. Hoping for a hot start, Schuyler has high hopes for the season to come.
“I think we will be good; I think people are doubting us,” Schuyler said. “I think in the end, we will end up being better than everyone.”
As a junior, recruitment is on a lot of players’ minds. For Schuyler, the dream of playing sports at the collegiate level is something that he has achieved. Schuyler is a verbal commit to Indiana University. Receiving an offer from a college takes dedication, and that is exactly what Schuyler was: dedicated.
“One day off, he’s literally always practicing, always working out,” junior Anthony Sacchetti said.
Making a good first impression for the coach is always something players strive for, and Schuyler did just that.
“I think the work he puts in lifting, the way he handles his diet, the way he spends some of his free time, I think he’s very dedicated to being the best baseball player he can be,” head coach Chris Malec said.
Being a high school athlete, it is not just the athleticism that the coaches look into, they also care about how one performs in school as well.
“I think he really takes pride in [his grades] and [it] seems like [to achieve at] his goal of baseball,” Malec said. “He knows that the academic side of that is very important at the moment and to play at the collegiate level.”
Growing up playing baseball, one is taught the skills of the game, as well as many life skills that one can use in everyday life.
“[Baseball has taught me] work ethic, perseverance and honestly, a sense of reality,” Schuyler said.
Schuyler spends his summers playing baseball for Hitters Baseball in Racine, Wis. During those summers, Schuyler and his teammates get to go to many different tournaments in many different places. Participating in this causes some great memories with best friends.
“Going to hotels and it is [just me] and all my friends,” Schuyler said. “I think some of the off-field friendships you make are some of the best.”
Along with the friendships made, and the skills gained, baseball also teaches lessons that can be looked back on every day.
“Baseball has shown me that no matter how bad you are at something, how good you are at something, you will be humbled eventually,” Schuyler said. “It really comes down to how hard you work.”
Although Schuyler is only a junior, his teammates and coaches know that he is a leader, and he plans on being the guy his teammates look up to.
“He’s a great role model; you will not see him lash out on anybody,” Sacchetti said.
With the season just starting, Schuyler has still managed to impress the coaches in the limited space they have had.
“Just from our first few days inside, [Schuyler’s] arm was great,” Malec said. “We are in a really tight space and he’s got a good arm to begin with, but when you are that close to it, it really shows well.”
In Schuyler’s little bit of free time, he enjoys hanging out with his friends, and they will sometimes go and practice their baseball skills together.
“We like going to the cages and hitting, and then after we’ll get some food we like and then play some [NBA] 2k or other video games together,” Sacchetti said.
When Schuyler is not out with his friends, he is putting his time into improving his skills.
“I lift usually three to four times a week, and do fielding three to four times a week,” Schuyler said.
Being 16 years old now, Schuyler has had time to understand the game, as he has played for the majority of his life.
“The beginning was me playing T-ball in Gurnee and it was very fun,” Schuyler said. “I felt like I wanted more all the time.”
Although winning is the main thing on Schuylers’ mind, his coach wishes for him to gain something else along with winning this season.
“I am hoping that he gets to be with his buddies and really enjoy this time because those teams that he has played for, he does not get this opportunity to play for his community, along with his friends,” Malec said.
At the end of the day, Schuyler and Malec both have some of the same end-of-the-year goals.
“He really wants some success for the program, he wants some team accolades and he just wants to enjoy his time with his buddies,” Malec said.
With the great history of catchers that the ACHS baseball team has had, Schuyler has some big shoes to fill; however, with the talent Schuyler has, that should not be a problem.
“We have had a history of very good catchers here, but to be at his age and already doing some of the things he does is really impressive,” Malec said.
With Schuyler getting ready for the upcoming season and understanding the program, he hopes to take the ACHS baseball team on a long playoff run this season. Not only hoping for a long playoff run, with Schuylers’ verbal commitment to Indiana University, he also hopes to take his career on a run even longer than the IHSA baseball playoffs could ever be.