By Mike Beas
Roughly a decade has passed since Griffin Schabel began playing baseball, enough time to sort out potential comfort zones.
And though Schabel, a senior at Avon High School, feels at ease and is fully competent playing virtually every position on the diamond, there are those he would rather avoid.
“Third base. That’s the hot corner, and the reaction time was never for me,” said Schabel, laughing. “Second base, as well. I would always just launch the ball hard at the first baseman, for some reason.”
Most anywhere else, the kid is golden.
This is particularly true when Schabel is roaming the outfield for the Orioles. He’s starting his second consecutive season in right field for Avon, which produced a 15-14 record last season, including a 6-8 mark in the final Hoosier Crossroads Conference standings.
Schabel, the son of former Speedway High School player Greg Schabel (the 1994 Indiana Gatorade Player of the Year, who later played at Indiana University), did his part with a .256 batting average and finishing third among Orioles players in hits (22) and runs (19).
Griffin Schabel’s six doubles and two triples positioned him at the top of those statistical categories, as well.
“Griffin is a fierce competitor. He is a great teammate and someone you want to go to battle with everyday,” said Avon baseball coach Troy Drosche. “He is absolutely one of the greatest defensive outfielders in the state.
“Any team that he is on will be better because he plays with passion, has no excuses and leaves it all on the field.”
Avon was scheduled to open its 2023 season on April 1 at the Center Grove Showcase with games against the host Trojans and Homestead. The Orioles’ home opener was slated for April 5 against HCC rival Noblesville.
Schabel’s bat, glove, base running and leadership all promise to play key roles in the weeks ahead.
Schabel, who carries a 3.4 grade point average at Avon, did a Q&A with ICON:
Q: So define the life of a right fielder during an Avon baseball game?
A: Honestly, I just look at it the same as every other position on the baseball diamond. Growing up, I played every position. Being a right fielder, you have to control what you can control. I love it out there. Tracking down baseballs is fun.
Q: What drew you to baseball, and what do you continue to like most about the sport?
A: When I started playing, I was 7 or 8 years old. I heard about my dad playing at Speedway High School and at IU. Baseball has always been in my family and is so much fun. Even when you don’t have a game, you can do fielding practice, you can do hitting practice and you can do bullpen.
Q: What are your plans after graduating from Avon High School?
A: I’m committed to play baseball for Lincoln Trail College in (Robinson) Illinois, and I’m going to major in business management. There were some Division III, Division II and NAIA programs that were interested, but Lincoln Trail really stood out. They just eat, drink and sleep baseball over there, and you have to carry a 3.0 grade point average to be eligible to play.