Starkville Daily News

Schuelke commits to Bulldogs after visit

- By ROBBIE FAULK Schuelke

A simple Twitter video has changed the life of one junior college pitcher.

When former Virginia hurler Stephen found a clip of three pitches from College of Central Florida right-handed pitcher

Cam Schuelke, his performanc­e went viral.

Schuelke can be seen in the clip throwing from three different arm slots. His overhand delivery, sidearm throw and submarine action made for quite the site for a baseball enthusiast. Since then, things have blown up for the talented athlete.

“I think it was kind of oddly satisfying to watch,” Schuelke said. “I had a stretch there when the Twitter video blew up that I was answering phone calls all day. It was overwhelmi­ng, but at the same time was a great feeling.”

Offers came in from Mississipp­i State, Arizona State, Florida State, Missouri State and Southern Miss with interest from many others as well. The Bulldogs and Sun Devils had emerged as two of the favorites with a visit to both possible.

Starkville was the first trip for Schuelke

last weekend, ironically, against the Sun Devils. After that trip, he was done and committed to the Bulldogs.

“That place was crazy,” Schuelke said of Starkville and MSU. “I've never seen anything like that in college baseball. The stadium was awesome, and I've never met people like that. They offered me food and drinks and the coaches were awesome, too. I didn't expect on my visit to be with coach (Chris) Lemonis as much as I was. They took me out to dinner, showed me the facilities and talked with me. They're just good people.

“It was being at that game and seeing how passionate all of those fans were. I heard there were 14,000 at the game before and if I'm closing a game like that, it would be incredible.”

The journey to Starkville has been an interestin­g one for Schuelke. He comes from Byron Center High School in Dorr, Mich., and accepted a preferred walk on at Florida Gulf Coast out of high school. After a year there, Schuelke took a different route and went to a Division II school of Northwood back home in Michigan.

Wanting to escape the cold and get another opportunit­y, Schuelke found a home back in Florida for College of Central Florida. After being the Northwoods League Pitcher of the Year in the summer prior to his move, he earned a spot in the Cape Cod last summer and went 5-0 with three saves and a 0.81 ERA in 22.1 innings with the Cotuit Kettleers with 19 strikeouts and seven walks. He was selected the Cape Cod's Reliever of the Year.

Schuelke has taken that momentum over to his time so far at College of Central Florida as the team's closer. He's 2-0 with five saves in 17.1 innings, 32 strikeouts and five walks, sporting a 0.54 ERA and a .059 batting average against him. This week, he was chosen the National Juco Pitcher of the Week after getting a win, giving up one hit, no runs and striking out 12 in three games.

Pitching for College of Central Florida has been something that Schuelke has really enjoyed and closing is right where he wants to be.

“It couldn't be better being where I am right now,” Schuelke said. “They run it like a profession­al organizati­on and the coaches do everything they can to get you exposed. We had 30 pro scouts at our game the other day so we're really getting some great exposure.”

One of the most intriguing things about Schuelke is the movement on what he's throwing. His velocity is hovering in the low 90s, but that hasn't been his focus. Deception, command and

movement is where he wants to be.

Schuelke's three different arm slots have made him difficult to figure out. He throws overhand with a four-seam and two-seam fastball, changeup, curveball and a slider with his fastball at 91 miles per hour. From a sidearm and submarine slot, he's throwing a four-seam, two-seam and curveball and hitting all of those pitches for strikes.

“My overhand curve is going to be different from the sidearm curve,” Schuelke

said. “If I think the best pitch is a sidearm curve on 3-2, I'll throw it. I've done a pretty good job keeping hitters off balance.”

The 6-foot, 200-pounder is now focusing on finishing the year strong with his team and preparing for the next level. Whether that's in the minor leagues or with the Bulldogs, he doesn't care. He's excited nonetheles­s.

“We've got to go win a national championsh­ip this year and that's what I'm focused on,” Schuelke said. “I want to get better and get drafted. If I go to State, then I'll have an unbelievab­le experience. I've got good options.”

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