Baseball: Q-and-A with Jim Schult, Joliet Slammers pitcher
July 19, 2012 6:10PM
Jim Schult, Slammers pitcher. | Paul Bergstrom~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: August 21, 2012 6:29AM
The 22-year-old former high school infielder from Wappingers Falls, N.Y., tied the Slammers record for strikeouts in a game with 10 in a July 13 victory at Southern Illinois.
Where is Wappingers Falls?
If you have a straight line between New York City and Albany, it’s right in the middle. It’s about an hour-and-a-half north of New York City. We moved there while I was in high school.
How did baseball progress from there?
I went to Eastern Connecticut State in Division III. I wanted to be an outfielder and a pitcher in college. I played both ways for four years and was an All-American in college. I played mostly third and shortstop in high school.
When did you move to the pitcher’s mound?
I just started being a full-time pitcher this summer. My velocity kind of jumped as soon as I put the bat down. It jumped six miles an hour this winter from 86, 87 to 92, 93, just working on it every day.
Where did you play last year?
I played in the Can-Am (Canadian-American) League, that was independent baseball on the East Coast.
How did you wind up with the Slammers?
I was working out in Florida at American Baseball Institute. The coaching staff there started making calls for me. I worked out for the Yankees, went through open tryouts in spring training. I was going to go to Windy City and try and walk on, and Bart (Zeller, the Slammers manager) gave me a call.
How did the Slammers spring training go?
They said “Come out, we’ll take a look at you.” They liked me out of the bullpen. I started working, playing catch with Amalio (Diaz) every day. We worked every day on my slider.
What has success in the rotation meant?
Success breeds confidence, confidence breeds success. Having the routine every day certainly makes me feel confident.
What were your expectations this season?
I knew it was going to be a younger league than the Can-Am League. I was pitching against a lot of guys coming down from the big leagues and Triple-A. I just have to throw strikes and trust my stuff.
How big is your family?
I have a brother who’s 20 years old in college. Me and my brother and father used to go to the ballpark every day. I used to drag them out there after school and start taking batting practice.
As told to Tim Tierney