Baseball: Mundelein’s Schulewitz will take high (re)marks into next season
Mundelein's Mitchell Schulewitz applies a tag on Palatine's Eric Scheuermann during the sectional semifinal game at Glenbrook South last week. | Brian O'Mahoney~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 8, 2012 8:22AM
There Mundelein junior Mitchell Schulewitz stood on the pitcher’s mound on Saturday afternoon, facing the biggest moment in his varsity baseball career.
As if being the focal point in the middle of a tie game in the IHSA Class 4A Glenbrook South sectional title game wasn’t pressure enough, his Mustangs also were in extra innings, trying to escape from a two-out situation with runners on first and third.
There had been runners on first and third with nobody out, yet the sidearming right-hander struck out the next two batters he faced, and seemed destined to tightrope out of danger — and perhaps on to the super-sectional. After all, he’d already thrown 3 2/3 scoreless innings of stellar relief to simply keep his top-seeded club in the game.
That’s when disaster struck.
Highland Park sophomore pinch-hitter David Joseph ripped the first pitch he saw from Schulewitz to deep center field, for a triple, scoring the eventual game-winning run for the Giants. Instantly, it became one of those rare moments where it’s easy to question why someone who probably deserved a better fate didn’t find the outcome he’d hoped for — especially considering how highly others speak of Schulewitz.
“Mitchell was outstanding out there,” said Mundelein manager Todd Parola, following his team’s 7-3 loss to Highland Park. “Hopefully, he can be that go-to guy for us next year. On the mound, he had many opportunities this season, and I thought he did a good job when given the chance. Unfortunately, he just came up a little short (against HP). Our guys battled, and we probably deserved a better outcome. But that’s baseball.”
Even though he missed the first eight weeks of the season due to a football-related weightlifting injury, his numbers the year before, as a sophomore, show his sheer potential. That’s when he posted a .439 batting average. He also led the team in doubles, triples and racked up 17 stolen bases. But his most impressive mark was his almost unbelievable .765 on-base percentage. And no, that isn’t a misprint.
When he wasn’t on the mound for the Mustangs in 2012, Schulewitz played a solid third base alongside talented teammates Chris Maranto (second baseman) and Will Farmer (shortstop). He and Farmer should be two of the team’s top returning starters next season, giving Mundelein a rock solid left side of the infield.
“Will and I have been best friends since like third grade,” Schulewitz said. “He’s a heck of a player, and I’ve learned a lot playing alongside him and Maranto (who will attend Division I Butler as an infielder in 2013). Both those guys have so much talent, and I think Will should probably get some scholarship offers for baseball too, if he keeps working hard at it. I hope and plan on playing college ball somewhere also. That’s my goal and dream.”
It’s also a dream that has a realistic shot at becoming reality, given his impressive high school resume. That’s because his talent off the field may even trump his ability on the baseball diamond.
Remarkably, Schulewitz earned straight A’s on his report cards every year from fifth grade until he was a sophomore. This year, he had all A’s and B’s while taking several advanced placement courses, which he juggled while playing sports, being a member of the National Honor Society, and being a three-year MHS student council member.
He finished with a 3.85 grade point average, which was ranked 49th overall in his class, and was also on the honor roll or high honor roll his entire junior year. Such accomplishments are things he’s very humble about.
“I try to stay busy,” Schulewitz said with a laugh. “After college, I’d really like to be a journalist. Writing about sports and different things seems like it’d be an awful lot of fun, so that’s what I plan on doing.”
Recap: Even though Mundelein’s stellar season ended in Saturday’s sectional final, this Mustangs club won’t soon be forgotten. At 34-5 overall, they broke the all-time school record for most wins in a season, and saw two starters sign Divison-I scholarship offers (Ryan Borucki with Iowa, Chris Maranto with Butler).
Additionally, right fielder Torr Randau will play for Division-III Augustana, while pitcher Matt Langlie hopes to make the D-I Illinois State roster as a walk-on. Baseball could also still be in the future for players like lefty pitcher Jared Mandel.
While the losses of senior leaders like Maranto, Borucki, Mandel, Langlie, Randau and outfielder Bryan Wiener will hurt, the Mustangs should be in position to keep their string of 20-plus win seasons going in 2013. Especially with Schulewitz, Farmer and outfielder/leadoff hitter Thomas Gandolfi returning.
“These guys took me on a great ride, man,” Parola said. “I’m happy I was along for it. Today (the final game of the season) was no different.
“This was a special group of seniors, and I’m really gonna miss them,” Parola added. “As the season went along, I knew we had a good team, but I never expected this. It’s a real credit to how much hard work these guys put in, and how well they came together as a group.”