DHS’ Schweitzer plays multiple roles
Whether he’s in the starting lineup, pitching on the mound or coming off the bench, Dickinson senior baseball player Brett Schweitzer is there for one reason — the team.
Schweitzer, who was also the starting goalie for the Dickinson High boys hockey team, remembers a quote from legendary hockey head coach Herb Brooks: “The name on the front is a hell of a lot more important than the one on the back.”
Those are words Schweitzer takes to heart.
“I’m willing to sacrifice and do whatever it takes to have our team win that state title,” he said. “You have to learn your role and I’ve found my role this year. If they need me to DH, I’ll DH. If they need me in the outfield, I’ll go out there. The infield is the same thing. If I’m on the bench, I know there’ll be a clutch spot in the game that they will need me to step up and get a big hit.”
During the course of the season, Schweitzer has played seven different positions including multiple infield positions — second base, third base and catcher — left field and right field, designated hitter and pitcher.
Schweitzer has a batting average of .400 with five doubles, one home run and 16 RBI. He’s also picked up 15 base on balls and four hit by pitches to give him an on-base percentage of .529.
“He’s very confident,” Dickinson head coach Pete Dobitz said. “He’s a confident hitter in that he knows what pitch he’s looking for and what he can do with that pitch. He seldom chases pitches. He has a good batting average and it could be even better if he didn’t hit it right at people.”
However, it hasn’t just been Schweitzer’s bat that has made him valuable to the Midgets.
His arm and presence on the mound has been huge.
Schweitzer, who threw a total of two innings last season, ranks third on the team in innings pitched (17⅔). He has a 2-2 record with a 1.98 earned run average.
Schweitzer said the best lift to pitching more innings this season for the Midgets was having a successful American Legion baseball season with the Roughriders. He finished with a 4-1 record, 36⅓ innings and a 2.31 ERA last summer.
“I was lucky enough to pitch in the summer and I was pretty successful” Schweitzer said. “I think that was a key for me to become one of the pitchers for the Midgets this year.”
Dickinson junior catcher Mark Erickson said Schweitzer and Luke Herauf have stepped up in a big way after the team graduated its Nos. 1 and 2 pitchers — James Kary and Alex Huschka, who are playing baseball at Minot State and Dickinson State, respectively. When Erickson isn’t catching, he’s the Midgets’ ace with a 5-0 record over 33⅓ innings. He has 30 strikeouts and a 1.05 ERA.
As a pitching staff, the Midgets have a 1.72 ERA with 97 strikeouts over 146⅓ innings. Seniors Mitchell Mehrer, Dylan Wallner and Spencer Murphy have each thrown more than 10 innings and have a combined ERA of less than 1.
“Losing Huschka and Kary really hurt us, and they were out Nos. 1 and 2 for two years in a row,” Erickson said. “Luke and Schweitzer stepped up big time getting wins.”
Schweitzer knows he’s not a strikeout pitcher. He only has seven strikeouts on the season.
Yet, he knows he can’t slack on the mound. Schweitzer found out the hard way during his outing against Bismarck St. Mary’s when Jacob Brucker hit a solo home run to left field on a 0-1 count.
“You can’t take a pitch off, because they might pull something out of the yard, like I learned again St. Mary’s,” Schweitzer said with a smile. “If you make a mistake, they will make you pay. You just have to stay within yourself. Be the pitcher you are, don’t overpower, because that’s not who I am. I have to make my pitches and get outs.”
The Midgets have the No. 1 seed in the West Region Tournament and open the regional against the No. 8-seeded Saints at 11 a.m. today at Southside Municipal Ballpark and Astoria Field. Dickinson finished the regular season with a 21-4 record and was 11-3 in the West Region.
Though Dickinson outscored St. Mary’s 43-4 in the team’s previous four games, which all resulted in wins for the Midgets, Schweitzer and Erickson know they can’t look past anyone.
“We are playing good baseball right now and everyone is firing on all cylinders,” Schweitzer said. “We are cutting down on the errors. We are just playing good ball.”
Erickson added: “We can’t overlook anybody and we just have to go one at a time. We all know that. Everyone gets exciting looking at that championship game, but we got to get there first. That’s going to be working hard each game and taking one opponent at a time.”