It didn’t take long for diminutive Cardinal Gibbons (N.C.) infielder Max Schrock to leave an impression on his coach as a freshman in 2009.
Just a few games into the season he had suddenly become the team’s offensive leader and a defensive catalyst as well.
“He’s a dynamic player,” Cardinal Gibbons coach Jim Liebler said of the South Carolina commitment, who is now a junior. “He does some things I haven’t seen high school players do, and he does it with regularity. He’s a special kind of player.
“He’s been on the varsity since he was a freshman, and [while that’s not rare], you could tell immediately there was something different about him. He just produced right away. He produced like he was a regular.”
In fact, Schrock led the Crusaders in almost every offensive category during his rookie campaign and did enough to impress the USC coaching staff, which offered a scholarship following the 2009 season. It didn’t hurt that he hit .490 for his travel team that summer.
Before ever attending a class as a sophomore, he had already finalized his college plans, committing to the Gamecocks over several other schools.
He continues to prove that USC did the right thing by scooping him up early. All of his offensive numbers improved in 2010, when he was named the Carolina Six 3A Conference Player of the Year and also received all-state honors. More importantly, he led Cardinal Gibbons to the second round of the public school playoffs, the school’s deepest advancement since moving from a private to public conference in 2005.
While Schrock is 5-foot-9, 175 pounds, he has the power of a player who is much larger, Liebler said. He expects Schrock to break all of the program’s home run records one day, and that’s impressive considering the Crusaders play at field with college-like dimensions. Most of Schrock’s home runs are to right field, where Cardinal Gibbons’ park measures 343 feet.
“The thing that stands out about Max is his power,” the coach said. “He’s extremely powerful. He really started working out this year, and he already had an incredible amount of power. That’s just added on top of it.
“He’s hitting at a huge park, and he can do it with wood, too. He just does things that are not typical.”
A good example would be one of the team’s games last week. Schrock, the team’s No. 3 hitter, blasted home runs in his first two at bats and then had a triple in his fourth at bat.
Schrock played second base as a freshman but has since become a dynamic shortstop for the Crusaders. He figures to play either of those positions for the Gamecocks.
“He’s a tremendous defensive player, too,” Liebler said. “At the next level not everybody gets to play shortstop, but I think he’ll be ready for whatever is next. He’s an excellent second baseman. If you take his shortstop skills and move him to second, he’s just going to be that much better over there.”