Baseball – Middletown South Ace Ben Schild Commits to UConn
Coming off a breakout sophomore season as the ace of the NJSIAA Group IV champions, Middletown South pitcher Ben Schild has found his next baseball home.
Schild announced Tuesday via Twitter his non-binding verbal committed to play at the University of Connecticut in the Big East Conference following his graduation from high school in 2023.
This past season, Schild earned a Shore Sports Network All-Shore First Team selection by going 8-0 on the mound for the Eagles with a 0.62 ERA and 83 strikeouts against just 17 walks in 56 2/3 innings. He left a lasting impression in 2021 by pitching a two-hit shutout with seven strikeouts in a 5-0 Middletown South win over Montclair to capture the Group IV championship on June 18.
Even before making his varsity debut in 2021, Schild entered the Middletown South program with lofty expectations - part of which was due to the fact that his older brother, Zach, was a standout catcher at Middletown South and then Monmouth University and has been instrumental in helping his younger brother develop.
Ben Schild was on track to be a varsity starter as a freshman before the 2020 season was cancelled due to the COVID-19 and was highly-regarded within New Jersey's 2023 class. This season, he announced his arrival with a 12-strikeout shutout of Ramapo in his first high school start and took off from there.
Schild is poised to join a UConn program that has been the class of the Big East, both in its on-field results and its track record in attracting and developing high-level talent. Major League All-Star and 2017 World Series Most Valuable Player George Springer is a UConn product and was selected 11th overall by the Houston Astros in 2011. After playing seven seasons in Houston, Springer signed a six-year, $150 million contract with the Toronto Blue Jays this past winter.
That same year, the Boston Red Sox selected pitcher Matt Barnes out of UConn with the 19th overall pick. Now in his eighth year in Boston, Barnes is in the midst of a career-year as an MLB reliever.
More recently, the Kansas City Royals drafted UConn commit Frank Mozzicato with the seventh overall selection of the 2021 MLB Draft. The pick was a surprise, as Mozzicato was not considered to be a projected first-round selection, but the Connecticut left-hander pitched his way up Kansas City's board and signed with the Royals at a bargain price considering his draft position. The Royals later used some of the money they saved to sign Red Bank Catholic graduate Shane Panzini, whom Kansas City drafted in the fourth round at 108 overall.
Current big leaguers Nick Ahmed, Anthony Kay and Scott Oberg are also UConn products and Toronto Blue Jays, with Anthony Kay also being selected in the first round in 2016 by the New York Mets.
After losing out on Mozzicato, UConn got the good news that Schild is planning on heading north to Storrs for the fall of 2023. UConn rejoined the Big East in 2021 and promptly won the conference regular season and tournament championships. Now, the Huskies are scheduled to bring in one of the top pitchers in New Jersey from the Class of 2023.
Of course, before Schild heads to UConn, he still has two more years left at Middletown South. Schild has already made it known he would like to help the Eagles win two more state championships, but he will also have a chance to build on a pitching arsenal that includes a fastball in the high-80 miles-per-hour range (touching 90), two versions of a breaking ball and a developing changeup.
Schild already has advanced command and feel for pitching so any spike in velocity that comes with his physical maturity will put him on the radar of an increasing number of MLB scouts. While that potential decision is still two years away, the first big one is now in the bag for one of the Shore's top returning talents on the diamond.