ALL-AREA BASEBALL: Riemenschneider’s 5-year foundation

STATE CENTER – At the plate, on the mound, or in the field, Jared Riemenschneider’s stats speak for themselves.

Though in deciphering the five-year starter’s true value, West Marshall coach Jerod Brown points past the numbers.

Combining a variety of intangibles with a dynamic skill set on the field, Riemenschneider is the 2013 Times-Republican All-Area Baseball Player of the Year.

“Everybody sees the base hits, the pitching wins, making plays defensively – all of that,” Brown said of the NICL West Division’s Most Outstanding Player. “Those kinds of things are quantifiable and you can easily see what he’s meant offensively, defensively and pitching-wise, but I think a bigger value he’s had to our program is the characteristics he brings to the table. The work ethic, the focus, working on getting a little bit better every day and valuing every rep.”

Leading the conference in runs (43), hits (34), doubles (11), home runs (3), stolen bases (28-of-29), on-base percentage (.650), slugging percentage (.720) and batting average (.453), the Class 2A all-stater (first team by the coaches, second team by Iowa Newspaper Association) was the unquestioned leader for the NICL West champion Trojans, which reached the district finals before falling to state finalist North Polk.

Often letting his play do the talking, the West Marshall stalwart also knew when his squad needed a boost vocally.

“He was someone who wasn’t afraid to say something if we needed something to be said,” Brown said of his senior veteran. “If we weren’t practicing to a certain level, if we weren’t playing to a certain level – he would say something and that’s good to have someone on the team that’s willing to do that rather than just the coaches.”

The three-time NICL West first-team selection also finished second in the league in walks (30) and tied for second in times hit by pitch (12). Riemenschneider holds school records in both categories with career totals of 115 walks and 38 hits by pitch, along with single-season marks of 30 and 13, respectively.

While less splashy than RBIs or home runs, Riemenschneider’s records ring true with his simple, but effective and focused demeanor toward the game – helping his squad by any means necessary.

“Any way to help the team is a win,” said the two-time Class 2A first team all-district honoree, who also played shortstop and tallied a .930 fielding percentage. “Hitting or just getting on base, it’s about helping the team.”

An all-district tight end for the Trojans last fall, Riemenschneider also ranked amongst the league’s best on the mound, wielding a 6-0 record and 1.41 earned run average. In 49 2/3 innings, the senior fanned 50 batters, while allowing just 10 earned runs and an opposing batting average of .178.

While the three-time T-R All-Area selection has long proved himself as one of the best players on the Trojan roster and in the conference, it’s never quelled his thirst for constant improvement through harnessing the moment.

“The focus in how he practices the game on a daily basis has really led to his consistency,” Brown said of the league’s top hitter. “To him, the most important rep – whether it’s a game or a batting practice session – is the one that’s right now.”

Riemenschneider – who made his most noticeable strides on the basepaths with 50 stolen bases in his last two seasons after just four as a sophomore, hopes his actions can motivate his younger teammates the way former senior Joe Disney inspired Riemenschneider when he was an eighth grader.

“(Joe) was a very, very good player,” said the four-time NICL West honoree. “The way I looked up to him … if I could be half of that to an eighth-grader or freshman, that would be awesome.”

Though Riemenschneider currently isn’t planning to pursue baseball at Ellsworth Community College, where he’ll study environmental biology and conservation this fall, he hasn’t ruled it out.

Whether or not he dons another jersey on the diamond down the road, Riemenschneider will always take pride in the one he wore for five seasons in State Center.

“I’m proud of being from West Marshall and being a Trojan,” Riemenschneider said. “Just the name, the reputation of being a Trojan and what that stands for. Whether that’s on the field or off the field. You’re held to a high standard.”

Upholding those values for a half-decade, Riemenschneider has pushed the bar even higher – redefining the goals and expectations for future Trojans.

“That is something we’ll miss, just his day-to-day standard of excellence,” said Brown, the All-Area Coach of the Year. “(Jared) wasn’t content with being the best player on the team or the best player in the conference, but trying to be the best player he could be. Hopefully some of the younger guys learned from that and saw the time he put in and try to maximize their own skills.”