Two summers ago Dalton Schumer felt like he did not belong in the Prospect League. The Danville Dans signed the Maryville University freshman to a temporary 10-day contract. Schumer played in three games for the Dans in 2015 and was left wondering what was next.
This past season Schumer proved he belonged in the league as he used the 2015 season as motivation.
“I was released and essentially told I was not good enough for the Prospect League,” Schumer recalled. “So I think that kind of gave me extra motivation to prove them wrong and show I was capable of being successful in this talented league.”
Schumer did just that.
The Gems primary shortstop finished the season top 10 in the league in nearly every offensive category including: a .327 batting average (10), 68 hits (5), 54 runs (3), 14 doubles (t8), 40 walks (t6), 13 home runs (2) and 53 RBI (3).
He led the Gems in all of the same categories.
One person who didn’t view Schumer’s skill set as being sub par for the league was Danville manager Eric Coleman.
“He was just a young pup for us then, but he was just a temporary guy at the time as we had some guys playing in the regional,” Coleman recalled. “It wasn’t like he was cut, we just did not have a spot for him once all of our (contracted) guys came back from their school ball season.”
Coleman also mentioned he feels like Schumer could have helped his team this year if he would have came back to Danville instead of landing in Quincy.
“He obviously got bigger and stronger and he put up some really good numbers in the league this year,” the Dans coach mentioned. “He also played some outstanding defense. He is a great player, a good kid and I enjoyed talking with him every time we played them. I wish him the best of luck.”
If teams in the league did not take notice of Schumer in the first half of the season, he certainly grabbed their attention during the All-Star showcase last month in Kokomo. Schumer belted a total of 24 home runs to capture the Western Division Home Run Derby title.
“I can honestly say the home run derby is one of my favorite baseball memories I have had,” he said. “The environment at the large stadium under the lights and my teammates on the sidelines, coach Rick (Fraire) throwing to me and all of us rushing out to celebrate after it was over was something I will never forget.”
Although he would like to come back to the Gems next summer, Schumer mentioned when the Gems season ended Saturday night in Terre Haute, it would be the last time he put on the Gems uniform.
“If it weren’t for clinicals next summer, I would love to come back,” he admitted.
Schumer is entering his senior year at Maryville where he is in the physical therapy program.
In a season filled with losses, 39 of 60 to be exact, a win on July 3 stands out as a highlight to Schumer.
“The first highlight which comes to mind is when Cody Birdsong hit that walk-off home run and then celebrating with the fans afterwards with the fireworks show, that was pretty neat to experience.”
With all of the success Schumer obtained this summer, he hopes to pick up where he left off this spring for Maryville.
“I expect to be the starting third basemen for them this spring,” he stated. “I think (this summer) I’ve developed the ability to be a more complete offensive player by driving in runs, getting on base at a higher clip, stealing bases, and just overall creating offense as a hitter.
“I hope to really contribute more so than I have in the past and help our team be more competitive in the GLVC this year.”
After playing a full college season and jumping right into the Prospect League, it’s easy for players to get worn down. Although Schumer admitted he did not finish as strong as what he would have liked, he mentioned having a coach like (co-manager) Fraire in the dugout helped him with the mental part of his game.
“Summer ball can easily become tiresome,” he said. “But Rick is someone who made me excited to be at the ballpark every day and he made baseball a good time this summer.”
Despite the lack of overall team success this summer, Schumer mentioned he enjoyed his time with the Gems.
“We struggled but I had a great experience here in Quincy,” he admitted. “Baseball is a sport that blesses us players with the ability to go play in a variety of places and in the meantime meet a variety of people. So despite the fact we were not able to win as much as we would have liked, we made the most of each other’s company.”
As much as the Gems struggled to win this summer, it will be an even bigger struggle to fill the void Schumer creates next year.