Schumacher a competitive dual threat for P-E-M: 'I don't like losing'
Senior Conner Schumacher is 6-0 on the mound and batting over .430 at the plate for the 15-3 P-E-M baseball team. The Bulldogs open section play on Monday.
Whether it’s competitive sports, playing a game with friends or milking cows on the family farm, Conner Schumacher goes all out at whatever he does.
The senior at Plainview-Elgin-Millville is a three-sport standout for the Bulldogs and he currently is the ace of the Bulldogs' pitching staff while also batting better than .400.
P-E-M is currently 15-3 and is set to begin play in the loaded Section 1AA tournament next week. The Bulldogs are one of three teams in the section ranked in the top 10 in Class AA. Schumacher would like nothing better than closing his career with a state tournament berth.
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“He wants to win and he wills his teammates and gets the best out of them,” P-E-M baseball coach Scott Flattum said. “It’s kind of contagious with the way he acts, and he brings a lot of confidence no matter if it’s this (baseball), basketball or football.”
“Everything in life, if it’s with my brother or friends, even if it’s little, I like to win,” Schumacher said. “I’ve just always been that way. I don’t like losing.”
The 6-foot-1, 175-pound Schumacher was also a starter in football and basketball at P-E-M, but baseball gets the slight nod.
“Baseball’s probably my favorite, but whatever’s in season, I love to play,” he said. “I love playing all three of them.”
This spring, Schumacher is unbeaten as a pitcher. The left-hander is 6-0 with an ERA right around 1.00 and has 62 strikeouts.
“I like being on the mound, that’s my happy place,” Schumacher said. “I like having the ball in my hands and having fun up there. It’s always been something of a joy since I was a little kid. I just like pitching.”
Schumacher throws an effective four-seam fastball and a change-up, but he said his best pitch is probably his curveball/slider. His fastball has been timed in the low 80s.
In an big victory against Goodhue on Wednesday, Schumacher earned the win on the mound. He also went 2-for-2 with a home run and three runs scored as the Bulldogs’ leadoff hitter.
“Basically I try to get base hits and try to get on base for my team because I have great sticks behind me hitting in the order,” Schumacher said.
He would rather play in tight and competitive games, like against Lourdes earlier this season. Schumacher held the hard-hitting Eagles scoreless for five innings in that game before allowing two runs in the sixth. He then had to leave due to pitch count, and Lourdes scored three in the seventh to win 5-3.
“We had a big game against Lourdes that I pitched in and those are the games that I think our squad lives for,” Schumacher said. “We’d rather play in a tight game and lose than win by 10. Those are the games that get us better.”
Schumacher hopes the competitive games give the Bulldogs an edge during the Section 1AA tournament.
“I think we do (have a chance),” he said. “We have a lot of depth in pitching and I think that’s a key thing in the playoffs because you play so many games in a row.”
Off the field, Schumacher lives on a dairy farm west of Plainview that milks a whopping 1,200 cows a day. He considered trying to play a sport in college, but plans to go to Minnesota State, Mankato to get a business degree.
“I’m not playing ball as of right now,” he said. “I’m not sure how comfortable I’ll be with that because of how competitive I am, and not playing a competitive sport. But we’ll see.”
“He’s a good three-sport athlete,” Flattum said. “He could potentially help a college team, but he’s a smart kid too, he’s an academic kid. He’s going to get his degree and he’ll do great at whatever he does.”
That could be a return to the farm once he gets his college degree. But that’s a long way off. For now, Schumacher intends to enjoy the rest of his senior season.
“I just love every minute with the guys,” he said. “Being with my best friends, I’ve grown up with these kids and it’s a joy to be out here every day with kids that I love.”