The LaFayette senior pitching ace officially signed on the dotted line last week to continue his baseball career at Chattanooga State, a place he knows fairly well.
Sholtz’s older brother, Brad, also pitched for the Tigers after his playing days at LaFayette High ended, and Brad’s wife Danielle (formerly Willmon), once suited up for the Lady Tigers in softball.
“He’s got good arm strength and he’s had some success in a pretty good program (at LaFayette) said Chattanooga State head coach Greg Dennis, who also played ball for the team he now directs. “He’s got the potential to be a two-way player for us and we’ll explore that option. I’m hoping he’ll be a good fit for us in the classroom and on the field.”
Sholtz is 5-5 on the mound with a 3.57 ERA and four complete games this season. He has also recorded two saves and has 16 strikeouts in 47 innings pitched. He is batting .271 at the plate with a pair of home runs and 14 RBIs.
“I’m thrilled to death for him,” said LaFayette head coach Jay Rodgers. “One of things we’ve been talking about from day one is getting our kids more baseball scholarships. We’d like to get two or three a year. Matthew (Yarbrough) has already signed a football scholarship at Shorter, but he’s thinking about playing baseball too and Chris (Battles) is getting looks from a few places. It’s a big step in the right direction and gives our program more exposure.”
Rodgers also knows what Sholtz will be facing once he gets on the field at Chattanooga State. Rodgers himself played for the Tigers after finishing up his high school career at Ringgold.
“The biggest challenge will be mental,” he explained. “He can make some mistakes against some hitters in high school
and get away with it. He can’t make those mistakes against college hitters because every team he faces will be a lineup of high school all-star kids. It’s a big step going from high school to college, whether its juco or the Division I level, but I have no doubt he’ll do fine if his work ethic stays the same.”
Dennis also agreed that the mental part of the college game is the biggest to overcome.
“He’ll be getting a belly full of baseball six days a week,” Dennis added. “The mental part is toughest. I just hope he has the make up to suffer through the bad times and get to the good times.”
Sholtz was contacted by several schools, including Wofford, Brewton-Parker and LaGrange College, but verbally committed to the Tigers a month before he signed.
“I’m hitting my spots pretty well now,” Sholtz said. “I need to throw a harder breaking ball and getting in the weight room once I get in college will help with that.”
Sholtz said he wants to pursue a career in coaching once his playing days are over.
“I want to thank Coach Rodgers, Coach (Chris) Jones and mom and dad for helping get to this point,” he added. “And my brother. Brad’s sort of paved the way for me a little.”
Sholtz is the second Walker County baseball player to sign with the Tigers this spring, joining Gordon Lee’s Zach Burns and Dennis says others may soon follow.
“North Georgia has always been pretty talent-rich in baseball,” he said. “We’re going to keep exploring down there and keep building some ties.