Senior Caleb Schmiedel batted .446 with 21 RBIs and went 5-2 with a 1.93 ERA in helping lead Zama to its second straight Far East Division II baseball tournament title.

Senior Caleb Schmiedel batted .446 with 21 RBIs and went 5-2 with a 1.93 ERA in helping lead Zama to its second straight Far East Division II baseball tournament title. (Everett Lopez/Special to Stripes)

A silence fell over Zama’s baseball team, every eye of every player glued to the ball as it sailed off the bat of E.J. King’s Colin Schrader over the fence for a grand slam home run.

The round-tripper knotted the Far East Division II Tournament final at 7-7 in the top of the sixth inning, and capped the Cobras’ comeback from an early 7-0 deficit.

It could have devastated the Trojans, perhaps ruined their season. But Caleb Schmiedel said the grand slam had kind of the opposite effect.

“I was dead calm. There was nothing to worry about after that,” said Schmiedel, the Trojans captain, adding that he just walked to the mound, handed relief pitcher Rhino Aumua the ball and “told him not to worry about it.

“It was a nice hit. Just get the next batter and we’ll be fine. We were the home team. Whoever scores last wins. I trusted my teammates to get the job done,” Schmiedel said.

And they did so. In the bottom of the seventh, Schmiedel’s younger brother William drove in Hiroki Davis with the run that gave Zama its second straight D-II tournament title and third in the past 10 years.

Schmiedel batted .446 and drove in 21 runs and went 5-2 with a 1.93 ERA on the mound. Coupled with those two straight Far East titles, Schmiedel has earned Stars and Stripes high school baseball Athlete of the Year honors.

That D-II walkoff final capped a season marked by adversity. Zama had to replace four key players from its 18-3 team of 2023, going 16-6 with two Far East tournament ties during the just completed season.

“We lost four big contributors who couldn’t be replaced and we had to find a way to do it,” Schmiedel said. “It was more of a struggle this year. I was the only one going in with real experience as a pitcher.”

The first time the Trojans played the Cobras during the regular season, they lost 13-0. Zama also lost to Matthew C. Perry, to St. Mary’s, “teams that we didn’t lose to last year,” Schmiedel said.

“But those failures prepared us,” he said. “We were in a situation which helped us create depth and made us better. Each of the other teams had talent. But we had more depth. We faced some tough situations that we were able to handle efficiently and be able to overcome them.”

This was also the last season Schmiedel played for the coach who also happens to be his father, Dirk, who has coached Caleb since he was eight and playing youth baseball.

“He’s taught me about not just creating the best player, but the best person,” Caleb Schmiedel said, adding that he hopes to someday be a coach partly because of his dad’s inspiration.

Schmiedel now moves on to the Naval Academy. He says he feels good about exiting his high school years as a champion.

“Both times winning, it was an emotional roller coaster,” Schmiedel said. “During Far East last year, we didn’t play our best baseball, but we still won. This year, we played our best baseball and barely pulled it out.”


Age — 18

Place of birth — Greensboro, N.C.

Sports played besides baseball — Football.

Favorite school subject — Math.

Least favorite school subject — English language.

Athletes he looks up to — Tom Brady, Bryce Harper.

Favorite performer — Ryan Reynolds.

Favorite TV series — Ted Lasso.

Favorite movie — Princess Bride.

Individual statistics — Batting: .446 batting average, .500 on-base percentage, 1.443 OPS, 21 RBIs, 5 stolen bases. Pitching: 5-2 win-loss record, 1.93 ERA, 1.175 walks-hits to innings, .177 opponents batting average.

Team record — 16 wins, 6 losses, 2 ties, second straight Far East Division II tournament title (third overall).

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Dave Ornauer has been employed by or assigned to Stars and Stripes Pacific almost continuously since March 5, 1981. He covers interservice and high school sports at DODEA-Pacific schools and manages the Pacific Storm Tracker.

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