By Rebecca Carney
Hutchinson Community College freshman baseball player Zane Schmidt has been having a tremendous season for the Blue Dragons. Schmidt, a native of Kearney, Neb., was just named the NJCAA Division I National Player of the Week. Schmidt’s three-home run game last week against Garden City helped him to earn this award.
Last Thursday, in a home game against Garden City, Schmidt’s three home runs tied the HutchCC single-game record for home runs. Schmidt hit three-home runs and racked up six RBIs in a 3-for-5 performance. Schmidt’s record-tying home run capped a last at-bat comeback in 9-8 walk-off victory for the Blue Dragons.
Schmidt, who has never had a three-home run game before, said, “It’s something new that a lot of kids don’t get to experience. It’s a dream, especially with the last one being a walk off at the end of game. That alone without the other two is something that most kids want to do at least one time in their life and it’s a good feeling.”
Schmidt’s power surge didn’t surprise the coaches. They expected Schmidt to have some power, but not this much power.
“As we recruited him out of high school, we didn’t expect him to have this power, but it doesn’t surprise me,” said coach Ryan Schmidt, who is not related. “Since day one, he always lit it up and he was always on the barrel, and he has a great swing. Good hitters have a good chance to become good power hitters.
Zane Schmidt actually grew up playing hockey, since he was 3 years old. He played for teams out of Kearney for several years, and then for teams out of Omaha and Lincoln.
There isn’t much difference between whacking a hockey stick and swinging a baseball bat, he said. Playing hockey in high school has played a part in what Schmidt is now doing for Blue Dragon baseball team.
As the season continues, Schmidt hopes to continue to be the powerful presence on the field like has been the past couple weeks for the Blue Dragons.