The Post-Journal

Bob Schmitt Is Baseball Coach Of Year For Second Time

Bob Schmitt didn’t begin his high school coaching career until 1991, but he’s already built a record that should be the envy of any coach anywhere.

In five seasons, Schmitt has guided the Bears to two New York State Public High School Athletic Association Class D championships. The most recent title came last weekend when the Bears scored 39 runs and pounded out 34 hits in a pair of splendid performances in Utica.

But beyond his ability to teach his players the finer points of the game, Schmitt also demonstrated the ability to communicate with them. On a team laden with talent, Schmitt realized the key to this team’s success was if it could develop maturity, mental toughness and an eye-on-the-target approach that had been sorely lacking the last few years.

It worked.

The Bears, who finished as the top-ranked small school team in Western New York and the No. 1 Class D team in the state, claimed the Division 2, Section 6 and far West Regional titles, blew away Lake Placid in the state semifinals 28-1, and held off Heuvelton, 11-7, in the championship game.

All of Schmitt’s prodding, cajoling and coaxing had paid off. The kids, who came so close to advancing to the states as sophomores in 1993, assumed the leadership roles, and the underclassmen picked up the slack left by players who had graduated.

“We were a team that won with class,” senior co-captain Darin Beckerink said. “We were a team made up of a bunch of different people who came together and played well together.”

Credit for that, without question, goes to Schmitt the 1991 Post-Journal Coach of the Year. He took a team long on talent and short on selflessness and turned it into one of the best squads this area has ever produced.

“It’s what I hoped for, but I never thought it would happen,” said Schmitt of his team’s maturity this spring. “I don’t know why it happened. It wasn’t me. I don’t know what it was.”

Whether he will acknowledge it or not, Schmitt had a lot to do with the resurgence of the Bears, who finished 24-5. And for that reason, he is our clear-cut choice, for the second time in five years, as The Post-Journal’s Coach of the Year.

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