RHP Rafe Schindler Returns to the Mound at Veterans Memorial Park

Written by Kaeylin Spickler
Turks Staff Writer

Every sport has its own unique trials and tribulations. Athletes must overcome injuries or prove to their coach they are worthy of the starting position. Some players lose hope after seeing teammate after teammate achieve their dream, and sometimes the drive just starts slipping away from even the most shining athletes.

The Turks are welcoming back right-handed pitcher, Rafe Schindler, from Nunez Community College. Rafe played his freshman year at U. of New Orleans before taking this past season off. Coming in at 6’4, 210 pounds Schindler is just what the Turks need, and the Turks are what he needs too as he rediscovers his longtime passion.

The pitcher has grown up spending time on the field with a baseball in his hand since he was five years old. From there he moved up the various levels with many hours dedicated to travel ball and his high school team. He recalls that he spent more time at the baseball diamond than anywhere else.

Last season, Schindler was one of our go-to closing pitchers with a solid fastball. He was selected to play on the Valley Baseball League All-Star team, and from there he played on the Southern Collegiate Showcase team. This roster was made up of players from numerous leagues along the Southern East Coast, including the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League and the Sunbelt League, in addition to VBL. This showcase was his biggest highlight of the season last year. “It was a great honor (to play on this team), and competing with and meeting other athletes from all over is fun,” Schindler said.

Following the summer season, Schindler made the decision to take a year off from playing baseball. Shortly after he got to school this past fall, he went through a rough time when his arm started giving the pitcher problems. Schindler decided to take some time off from playing ball to get back on track physically, mentally, and academically. “I was just in a dark place, and I was distant from my family. I wanted to be done with baseball,” Schindler said of his decision to stop playing.

Schindler couldn’t stay away from the game for long. Since then, he has been working out and training to make sure he is healthy and ready to play for the Turks. “I love Bob. It’s a great program, great team, great atmosphere,” Schindler said. That combination of qualities made the opportunity to come back irresistible, and the coaching staff is confident in Schindler’s comeback. “Once he gets the ball in his hands and steps on the mound in a game atmosphere, it will all come back to him just like riding a bicycle. Warriors compete no matter what the competition is. It’s only a matter of time until everything falls back,” pitching coach, George Laase said.

In order to make sure he was ready to come back, Schindler has been working out and training to ensure he is healthy and ready to play. “I’m excited to compete and get back to playing. I’m here because I want to get that drive and love for the game back,” Schindler said.

That hard work is, not only, in preparation for his season with the Turks, but also in hopes of getting drafted. “Sometimes you don’t get a second chance. We want to see him succeed because he has what it takes,” Laase said.

“(My advice) is that baseball can kick you down, but always get back up. In the meantime, don’t burn bridges.”