HOPE — Not many high school baseball players likely were as eager to get 2016 started as Jared Schoen.
The Hauser senior missed all of his junior season after tearing an ACL in a preseason scrimmage. But now, he’s back to full strength and hoping to lead the Jets to a big season.
“Ever since I tore it, I had in my mind about getting back out and playing,” Schoen said. “It feels good to be back out there and play with all these guys I didn’t get to play with last year.”
Schoen’s father, Hauser coach Jerry Schoen, thought the Jets might be able to contend for the Class A state title last season before Jared’s injury. Hauser finished 17-10, but lost in the sectional semifinals.
Jerry Schoen said without his pitching ace, it made him have to juggle a lot of players between positions.
“You come into a season knowing pretty much who’s going to be where when you have a lot of returners like we did, and it put us in a bind with other guys having to play a different role,” Jerry Schoen said. “With him on the mound, that gives us a good defense behind him. If he’s consistent and throws strikes, I think we’ll be pretty successful.”
So far this season, Jared Schoen’s time on the mound has been limited. He struck out seven in five innings while on a pitch count in a 7-2 loss to Eastern Hancock, when the Jets committed four errors.
Then on Saturday, Schoen threw a five-hitter, but Hauser committed five errors in a 4-2 loss at Cincinnati Western Hills.
“Overall, I feel good,” he said. “Everything is coming back. I’m healthy.”
Jared Schoen thinks he may have torn the ACL in his left knee while saving a ball from going out of bounds during the final junior varsity basketball game of his junior season. If it wasn’t torn then, it was when he was involved in a play while covering home plate in last year’s baseball scrimmage against Edinburgh.
That effectively ended his junior baseball season.
“It was really tough,” he said. “A lot of my buddies who were seniors last year, we were gearing up for a big year. Me getting injured kind of put a toll on that. It was pretty hard to watch everybody play while I was stuck in the dugout.”
So he went to Dr. Nathan Frasier in Columbus for two hours three times a week for rehab. Schoen did a lot of stretching on his own, making sure scar tissue didn’t build up from the surgery.
Although he didn’t play any baseball last summer, Schoen played soccer and basketball for Hauser this fall and winter.
“The threat of another tear is always there, but at the point where I was at, I was pretty confident with my knee and where I was at in my recovery,” he said. “For the most part, I just tried to go 110 percent in every game I played in.”
Prior to the 2015 baseball season, Jared Schoen was a Division I prospect. But without his junior year to showcase himself to college programs, those scholarships were taken by other players.
Last month, he went through interviews for the Ben Franklin Scholarship at Franklin College. Franklin also has offered a theater scholarship to Schoen, who has had the lead role in school plays at Hauser.
Earlham also has shown interest, and Schoen is deciding between Franklin and Earlham.
“The junior year for baseball is when everybody looks at you really hard, so that kind of limited my options,” he said. “I don’t want to say I definitely would have been a D-I player because you never know, but that was my goal. I just unfortunately wasn’t able to showcase my throwing ability for them.”
Schoen, who was the Jets’ top pitcher as a freshman and sophomore, has settled back into that role this season. Friday night, he’ll likely have a chance to do something he hasn’t done in his high school career — pitch against Columbus North — when Hauser visits the Bull Dogs.
Although he hasn’t had the fast start that he had hoped for, Schoen is planning a better end to his senior season.
“I guess I’m just making up for lost time,” he said. “I want to finish strong with these guys. We’re looking to make an impact in sectional and have a really strong year.”
What: Hauser vs. Columbus North baseball
When: 5 p.m. Friday
Where: Southside Elementary