Prep softball | Unique freshman Miriam Schmoll guides Bayshore to state tournament

Schmoll throws, slugs Bayshore to next level

jlembo@bradenton.comMay 7, 2014 

BAYSHORE GARDENS -- Miriam Schmoll can hit for average, drive in runs and sling her letter-high fastball by anybody.

She can also put a unique spin on Bayshore's tight-knit softball team. "If there's no enemy within," said Schmoll, the Bruins' right-handed pitcher, "then the enemy without can do us no harm."

Not too many freshmen can quote an African proverb at the conclusion of softball practice. Then again, Schmoll isn't a garden-variety freshman.

Instead, she's a middle-of-the-order hitter and ace hurler for the best Bayshore team in school history.

And the Bruins wouldn't want her any other way.

She has won 16 games while posting a 1.27 earned-run average and 199 strikeouts in 126 2/3 innings and has allowed one run during Bayshore's five postseason games. Schmoll will be in the circle Friday night at Vero Beach's Historic Dodgertown, where Bayshore meets Belleview in a Class 5A semifinal.

It's the first final four trip in program history, and it's no coincidence it has come during Schmoll's first year of high school.

"She's amazing," said Bruins coach Frank Luther. "But it's only amazing or it's only unbelievable to the people on the outside. I've known her forever. ... I expect her to do exactly what she's doing."

Schmoll first picked up a softball when she was 4. A doctor told Schmoll's mother that Miriam was out of shape and needed an activity to help get her health back on track.

So Miriam chose to play club softball at Palma Sola Park. A year later, she still chose softball.

"She said, 'You want to go do soccer or anything?'" Schmoll said, referring to her mother. "I said, 'No -- this is my sport. I'm in love with it.'"

Schmoll started pitching three years later, working with former Bayshore standout and current Manatee assistant coach Jenni Campos and Monica Triner, the pitching coach at USF.

She also has developed a fierce work ethic. Rather than putting the game out of her mind after she's finished honing her swing or one of the six pitches in her arsenal, Schmoll sits and watches film of Division I softball players.

"I break down what I'm doing ... and see what my batting form looks like compared to their batting form," said Schmoll, who is hitting .449 with five home runs and 30 RBIs, "what my pitching form looks like compared to their pitching form."

Schmoll also listens to the audio book "Winning State Softball" by Steve Knight, which covers everything from nutritional recommendations to handling pressure.

"I eat, sleep and breathe it," Schmoll said of the sport.

Yet one thing Schmoll doesn't concern herself with is burnout. Despite a daily dose of softball -- and more to come considering she has already committed to USF -- Schmoll said she still manages to keep it fun and treat softball exactly like what it is: a game.

Kristin Staley, Bayshore's senior catcher and Schmoll's best friend on the team, said Schmoll is fun to be around.

"I came into the year not knowing anything about her," Staley said. "In the back of my mind, I thought she was going to be very conceited. ... And I met her the very first day, and she was like, 'Hi, I'm Mim.' And I was like, 'Oh, my God -- I love her.' She's the most humble, unbelievable person I ever met in my entire life. She's remarkable."

Schmoll has gotten better as the year has gone on for Bayshore. She no-hit Southeast in the district semifinals and wiggled out of a pair of bases-loaded jams during Monday's Region 3 championship game against Hardee, during which Schmoll recorded her 10th shutout of the season.

"She just goes out and does her job," Luther said. "She makes it easy for me, she makes it easier for (her teammates). ... She's an amazing kid. Not only a pitcher, but a kid -- she's fun, but she knows when it's time to get her job done."

Schmoll isn't a typical freshman. Consequently, it hasn't been a typical season for Bayshore softball.

"It's the people I'm surrounded with who are constantly providing a new step, a new aspect," she said. "I've got great friends like Kristin who I'm constantly laughing with. ... If you're not surrounded with friends and a great group of people and a support system, you're not going to take it to the next level."

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