Longtime Stoverstown Tiger Zach Schuler going out on top

RYAN VANDERSLOOT
For The York Dispatch

Zach Schuler was beginning to think that he would never know the feeling of winning a York County Championship.

Over the past decade, Schuler has been a part of four Stoverstown squads that won the Central League regular season crown.

Each time, however, the Tigers came up short when they got to the YCC against the champion of the rival Susquehanna League.

“I was always brought up (with the mentality) that if you want something, you have to fight to get it,” Schuler said. “But I kind of gave us the nickname of the Buffalo Bills these past couple of years because we would get there but never win it.”

Now Schuler will have to throw away that moniker after he and his peers finally broke through with a sweep of Windsor to capture the first YCC title for the 19-year CL standout Stoverstown.

“At the beginning of the year we said we had four checkmarks,” Schuler said. “We won the league and then we got the county. Then there’s the playoffs and the (Tom Kerrigan Memorial) Colonial Tournament.”

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Stoverstown veteran Zach Schuler holds the York County Championship trophy. Ryan Vandersloot photo

Schuler and his mates will have to settle for, at best, three checkmarks this season. The Tigers were swept in their CL semifinals series by rival Jefferson.

Still, winning the YCC was a big deal for the Stoverstown organization as a whole. 

It was even more special for Schuler, who along with teammate Austin Rickrode plans to retire at the conclusion of the season.

“Winning the YCC was a big thing because we had four opportunities prior to this,” Schuler said. “And we didn’t win any of them and the county championship is the most important thing to us so it’s fulfilling to know that we got it.”

Schuler started his career playing at Shiloh for a couple of seasons before former Stoverstown manager Tim Thoman talked him to signing with the Tigers for his third season. The only disappointment for Schuler in winning the YCC in what will be his final season is that Thoman wasn’t there to lead the squad.

“Tim has meant so much to me personally and the entire Stoverstown organization over the years,” Schuler said. “He’s done a lot for us, and for us to go out a year after he stepped down — and I’m sure he’s happy for us — but I know he really wanted to win a county title.”

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Schuler knows what it’s like to somewhat be in Thoman’s shoes. The battle between playing and being there to watch his 6-year old son, Beckett, grow up and play baseball was tearing up Schuler, who grew up in an era where missing games was heavily frowned upon by teammates and coaches.

“I’ve been playing baseball ever since I was 4 years old,” Schuler said. “I’ve never know a summer without baseball, but Beckett is playing baseball and has a passion for the sport and loves it, and I’ve coached him the past two years and plan to continue to do that. 

“So, getting to all of our (Stoverstown) games and coaching him was tough to do, but at least now I’ll be able to live vicariously through him and continue on with my next passion.”