Road to the show: Noah Schultz embraces the grind to the big leagues

Noah Schultz sets to deliver a pitch during his junior baseball season. “Ever since I was young, I knew I loved the game and everything about it, I just continued to work hard and I noticed results came with it and has only been going uphill since,” Noah said. Photo courtesy of Dave Conroy.

Sitting down on his basement recliner, he adjusts his snapback baseball cap to readjust his curly brown hair flowing out the brim, leaning back on the chair, his XXL pants riding up on his legs. Somehow, even the largest size of joggers that can be found in the area can’t fit his 6-foot-9 frame. 

For senior Noah Schultz, it doesn’t take much more than a quick glance to assume he is an elite athlete. His tall stature and long arms immediately give the impression that Noah was born to be an athlete.

“I think [people commenting on my height] is really funny,” Noah says with a grin. “I love how everyone asks this question, but I embrace it. People stare at me when I walk by or do something but I think it’s really funny and have gotten used to it and am proud of who I am.”

While many assume he’d be a basketball star with his height, it comes as a surprise that he is, in fact, a baseball player.

And a very good one at that.

Noah officially committed to Vanderbilt University as one of the most highly touted pitching prospects in the country back in November of 2021. This wasn’t Noah’s first signing day, however. It was just a few years ago when he watched as his two older sisters, Ashley and Emily, committed to play softball for Northwestern and Stanford University, respectively. 

Noah’s fondness for his sisters is in clear display with his comments on them. His serious tone while recalling childhood memories with Ashley and Emily revealed how his sisters were not just great athletes but also great role models for Noah.

“I wouldn’t say I faced pressure from their success, I would say more of a lot of motivation. I learned a great work ethic from them and they taught me that if you have an opportunity to play at the next level, that you should take advantage of it and to become the best version of yourself so you can succeed and play the game as long as you possibly can,” Noah explains. 

Being given the opportunity for all three of your children to play division one sports is a tremendous accomplishment as a parent. To no surprise, it also has Noah’s father Larry Schultz quite starstruck himself. 

“People often ask what we did or how our children were so successful in sports. I don’t know the answer to that,” Larry says, shaking his head. “Obviously all three have been gifted physically but they all put a lot of time and effort into their training and made many sacrifices along the way, missing out on vacations and other activities as their schedules were filled with sports. Early on, my wife and I focused on making sports fun for them. I do believe that they had fun at an early age and they enjoyed competing. We never went into this thinking our kids would have a chance for a college scholarship. We only wanted them to stay physically active and learn the value of competition.”

Facing pressure is nothing new for Noah and something that he takes in and handles surprisingly well. He is just an 18-year-old kid, after all. But when you’re the number one ranked lefty pitcher in the country and a projected first round selection in the upcoming MLB draft, you can count on having eyes on you at all times. 

A multitude of scouts watch while in attendance for Noah’s first outing of his senior season versus Lockport High School. Photo via Larry Schultz.

“I had a coach when I was younger who always said that no matter the situation, everyone would be nervous and I would always have to look as cool as can be,” Noah explains. “I ignore the scouts and people at the game and have learned to block them all out to do my best during the game to try and help the team win.”

Noah’s recognition for his talent seemingly shot out nowhere, just like his height. Before his junior season last year Noah sprouted to 6-foot-9. As soon as he stepped on the mound for the Wolves, the offers came flying in.

“About two years ago [was] when colleges first started to recruit him,” his father says. “It was very sudden that it went from almost no interest from schools to a lot of schools being interested in him overnight.” 

If someone were to think Noah was simply gifted these accolades due to his height and potential, however, they would be sadly mistaken. An unprecedented amount of work and dedication has gone on behind the scenes to propel him to where he is today – something his dad is very proud of.

“Noah began working with his pitching coach Mark Sheehan about three and a half years ago and has been working consistently with him three times a week since,” Larry explains. “Noah didn’t start lifting weights until his growth slowed and has been very consistent lifting four to five days per week in addition to his pitching training. He’s never complained and always seemed to embrace and enjoy his workouts.”

Brian Schaffer, Noah’s baseball coach at East, also spoke highly of him. Brian explains how Noah excels on the team not just as a player, but as a leader for the Wolves.

“Noah is a supportive and helpful leader.  He leads through being available and communicating effectively with his teammates.  He provides guidance that not many players have,” Brian says. “[He also has] shown his ability to overcome, adapt, and strive on [his] own workouts.” 

Noah’s friends and now teammates on the East baseball team also have utmost respect and praise for him.

“He’s a great role model and all of the guys look up to him,” senior outfielder Zach Selvig says. “He always gives it his all and has a great attitude that positively affects the team.”

Aside from his fellow senior teammates, there has also been multiple underclassmen Noah has mentored and taken under his wing this year, with junior outfielder Mike Polubinski being one of them.

“His impact on our team as a leader is felt through him always bringing the energy and getting the [younger] guys amped up to compete,” Mike says.

If you took a step back from his baseball career, you’d get to see that Noah is still just a kid and wants to enjoy the rest of high school with the friends that he grew up with.

“In the limited free time that I have, I love spending time with my friends at the park shooting hoops or just hanging out and watching football or basketball,” Noah says.

Noah says he also has picked up fishing and golf over quarantine as a fun way to enjoy his summer days.

“I have always been into fishing with my grandparents, but this summer I visited their house in Florida and spent the week fishing with him. It has always been something I have a passion for and something I feel is a great hobby to have moving forward,” Noah says as he leans back in his seat. “Golf is something that I also just recently picked up on this summer and I’m not very good at it but is something that I want to pick up on and play as I get older.”

While his game on the golf course may not be as impressive as his display on the baseball diamond, Noah’s continued success as an athlete is to definitely keep an eye on and look out for in the coming years. 

Rising from his seat and stretching, Noah takes a moment to reflect on where he stands currently in his baseball journey, and takes a look into the future.

“[In the next five years] I hope to be continuing to play the game I love at the highest level,” Noah says. “And I hope to continue playing as long as I can.”

This is an ongoing feature and may be updated depending upon Noah’s future plans playing baseball. 

Charles Jaegle is the Sports Editor for Oswego East High School’s online news magazine the Howl

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