TABOR — To say that Tabor’s Riley Rothschadl has spent a little time around a baseball diamond this summer might be an understatement.
A talented soon-to-be 15-year-old, Rothschadl has played for Tyndall’s 14-under and 16-under teams, as well as the Tabor American Legion team. Counting his time with the Bon Homme club high school time this spring, he has played for four teams, logging between 70 and 80 games.
Among those games — after today’s (Friday) first-round game in the Class B VFW Teener 16-Under Tournament in Garretson — are four state tournaments.
Rothschadl will log his third state tournament of the summer and fourth of 2019 when Tyndall takes the field today.
“First off, he’s a great competitor. There’s not a challenge he won’t answer,” 16-under coach Ross Kortan said. Kortan also helps his father, Gary, coach the Legion squad. “He’s gifted in a lot of different areas. It’s not often that you’re going to see a kid like Riley come through.”
Competing against older kids is nothing new for Rothschadl.
“I’m used to it. I’ve been playing up all my life,” he said. “I feel more pressure with 13-14s. They expect more out of me. I’m a captain, so they look up to me.”
Riley’s playing at upper levels has made for some family moments, said Greg Rothschadl, Riley’s father.
“The first time he (Riley) played varsity, he was at short and (older brother) Beau was at third. It tugged at the heartstrings,” Greg said. He noted that he couldn’t make that first game due to work schedule, but received a photo of the two playing together. “All year it’s been kinda cool. It will be the last time it happens until amateur ball.
“It’s been cool as a dad to get to see that.”
Keeping Rothschadl — and a few other players who played on two of the three teams this summer — on the right schedule to prevent overuse has been a team effort.
“It was definitely tough,” Ross Kortan said. “We had to schedule around Legion and Teeners, watch pitch counts and have a plan between all three teams.”
Riley credits his parents for helping him keep things straight. But Greg Rothschadl, who is also the 14-under coach, gives all the credit to mom.
“She has a big calendar that has everything on it,” Greg said. “I always tell everyone I live day to day. I’ll figure out where to go when I get there.”
Riley broke through on the high school team as they backup shortstop when Tanner Van Driel pitched. This summer, Riley served as a double-team partner with Van Driel at times, playing second with Van Driel, a “super senior” (a player a year removed from high school graduation who was still young enough to play Legion), playing short.
“After a few practices, they built a little chemistry,” Ross Kortan said. “They made the most of it.”
Even with three teams worth of games, Riley found time to help coach a youth team. He felt that working with younger kids helped him as well.
“It helped me go through the fundamentals,” he said. “It slowed it down for me when I’m in a game.”
There is one thing in common with all four teams Riley has played on this year.
“I like to compete with them all,” he said. “They’re all my teammates. They’re family to me.”
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