Who is Dylan Schneider?A lot of people were left scratching their heads, asking that question during the baseball season.Schneider is a 6-foot, 195-pound right-handed sophomore pitcher who went from Crowley’s freshman squad to first-team all-state for Cleburne. He is also the 2013 Star-Telegram Super Team Player of the Year.“Honestly, I didn’t know anything about him when he moved in,” Cleburne coach Ross Taylor said. “Somebody told me we had a new guy come in over the summer from Crowley and I said I didn’t remember him. They said he played on the freshman team and I just went, ‘OK.’”Schneider proved to be the perfect fit as he worked with the coaching staff through fall ball. By the time the season arrived he had secured one of the top two spots in the rotation, along with fellow star sophomore Tyler Fowler. Helping Schneider’s transition to varsity was an experienced team off a state runner-up finish in 2012.“I have to give most of the credit to my team; without their run support, I couldn’t have done it,” Schneider said. “I’m just thankful for the defense and to have them behind me. I felt like a family member, like a Yellow Jacket as soon as I came in.”Though neither overpowering or physically imposing on the mound, Schneider thrived, posting an 11-0 record, sub 1.00 ERA and a no-hitter in the regular season to help Cleburne win the District 8-4A title. He also played third base and drove in 20 runs.“He’s a mid-80s guy who can throw three pitches on any count. He can throw a curveball, slider or fastball on any count and he’ll mix in a changeup every once in a while,” Taylor said. “For a guy who really didn’t come out and just overpower people — he finessed people and got them out — that’s a surprise that a sophomore can do that. Especially the kind of teams that he finessed.”Cleburne entered the postseason as one of the state’s highest-ranked Class 4A teams, and Schneider once again proved his mettle. He picked up playoff wins over the likes of Fort Worth Western Hills, Denton Guyer, Trophy Club Nelson, Wolfforth Frenship and Wichita Falls Rider before the Yellow Jackets lost in three games to Rider in the regional final.Schneider finished the season with a 16-0 record, 1.05 ERA, 119 strikeouts and just 15 walks. He was selected first team all-state by the Texas High School Baseball Coaches Association.“I had no clue all of this was going to happen, I just wanted to help the team do what we needed to do,” Schneider said. “I had no clue I was going to blow up like this. I just tried to do my part and it worked out.”Despite his success, Schneider was disappointed the team didn’t make it to state and said he has a lot of work ahead of him if he wants to play beyond high school. Taylor wants him to become more confident throwing his changeup and is hopeful he can grow a couple inches over the next two years.“I’m going to work on all of my pitches, try and get them sharper. I need to get my physical condition better and definitely work on being a better teammate,” Schneider said.
Jarret Johnson, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @JohnsonJarret