MIDDLETOWN — For the second year in a row, Middletown High School’s Kyle Schwarber dealt with an injury that sidelined him defensively from the baseball diamond.
But the injury did nothing to harm his offensive production.
Schwarber ranked third in the Middletown area in batting with a .474 average and was tops in home runs (8) and runs batted in (28). He also led his team in stolen bases with 11.
“I had an arm injury that shut me down for six weeks,” the senior catcher said. “But I couldn’t hang my head about it. I had to make the best of it and I did.”
The Journal’s Position Player of the Year was the driving force in leading the Middies to a third-place finish in the Greater Miami Conference.
“The season was better than what I thought it would be,” said Schwarber, who shared GMC Player of the Year honors with Mike Conrad of state champion Lakota East. “It was better than coming in as a freshman and finishing last. We had some good talent and we finally put it all together for an exciting year.”
Middie fans had been waiting for this season for several years.
When Schwarber and some of his fellow seniors played for Middie Pride in 2005, they became the first Ohio team to win a Cooperstown Dream Park in Cooperstown, N.Y.
“I thought it was just a bunch of talk back then,” Schwarber said. “Parents and coaches trying to pump us up, but I look back at it now and our senior class helped put Middletown back on the map. We went 10-0 in football for the first time in over 70 years and baseball finished third when we’ve been last ever since I can remember. Now we are a team to beat.”
Next up for Schwarber is college baseball. He committed during his junior season to play for the Indiana Hoosiers.
“It’s weird to be done,” Schwarber said about his high school career. “But now I have to set a tone for college and be a leader.
“I don’t want to be the guy getting yelled at by the coach, or the guy that is always behind,” he continued. “I’ve got to do all the small things right, and I think being at Middletown has helped me mature to be that kind of player.”
Schwarber’s four-year career numbers look like this: .408 batting average (109-for-267), 18 home runs and 103 RBIs.
“I’ve wanted to play baseball ever since I was a little kid,” Schwarber said. “I wanted to be like Barry Larkin or Pudge (Ivan Rodriguez), but it’s going to take a lot more work than just playing games. I can’t just do the minimum. I learned that as a freshman as so far it’s paying off.”
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