Clate Schmidt is a senior pitcher for Clemson University. He pitched five innings throwing 77 pitches on Saturday to get the win against Maine at home. He allowed four runs on eight hits with one walk, while also notching five K’s in his first five innings of work on the year. This sounds like an average stat line for the first outing of a pitcher’s season, so why write an article about him? Maybe the fact that Schmidt just defeated cancer six months prior to Saturday’s game.
Schmidt was a relief pitcher during the 2015 Clemson season, but could never find the energy to truly give it his all on the mound. He consistently complained of fatigue after his games, and at the end of last season he found out why. After receiving multiple tests resulting from finding a lump on his neck, he received the news that he had cancer. Schmidt was diagnosed with Stage 2 nodular sclerosis Hodgkin lymphoma. Treatments began immediately. Schmidt endured four rounds of chemotherapy along with over 15 radiation treatments. In August, Clate Schmidt was declared cancer free. He returned rather well considering the lack of energy he spoke of after his treatments. In six short months, not only did he return to the ball field, but he locked up the Saturday starter job. As for his first outing of the year, Clate told USA Today:
“I thought I did extremely well attacking the zone, and I had only 25 balls out of 77 pitches, so I was pretty excited about that. The four earned runs, I was kind of disappointed in that just for the simple fact of being a competitor and I know I’m better than that. Once it gets deeper into the season, I’m going to be better.”
Clemson’s new coach for this season, Monte Lee, received his first win in a Tigers uniform behind Schmidt’s outing on Saturday. Lee was excited to welcome his 2nd starter into the rotation with open arms after his treatments during the offseason. Lee looks for Schmidt to be a “senior leader” on his squad, which shouldn’t be hard to do after what he has overcome in the last year.
Schmidt is a perfect example of why you should never quit and keep pushing yourself to keep doing what you love to do. We wish him and the rest of his team luck throughout the rest of their season.