In the first three installments of the Times-Review sports beat’s “Throwback Thursday” series, we’ve looked at standout football, volleyball and girls basketball athletes from Cleburne High School. Now seems like a good time to cover all the bases and take a look back at a standout Yellow Jacket baseball player.
With Cleburne baseball’s rich success over the past decade under the guidance of Coach Ross Taylor, there are plenty of options to choose from. And I’ll certainly come back to reflect on several other Yellow Jacket baseball players throughout this “Throwback Thursday” series, after I give some attention to other schools in the upcoming weeks.
But considering my first season covering baseball in Johnson County was the 2013 campaign, one of the first names that jumped out to me was Dylan Schneider.
The 2013 season wasn’t just my first year in Cleburne, it was also Schneider’s first year in black and gold. A move-in from Crowley, the Jackets might’ve known they were getting a promising player, but no way could Taylor or the team have predicted just how dominant Schneider would end up being for Cleburne baseball.
Schneider made his mark immediately as a sophomore when he put together a perfect season on the mound, literally. Schneider boasted an unblemished 16-0 record his first season in Cleburne.
While a pitcher’s win-loss record may not always be the best indicator of his (or his team’s) success, Schneider’s record-setting career as a Yellow Jacket is arguably best summed up with a look at his career record on the mound — 36-3. Schneider only lost three games as a starting pitcher for the Yellow Jackets in three seasons. And the 36 pitching wins are a school record.
Schneider’s career numbers include 309 strikeouts with 34 earned runs and 45 walks allowed in 254 2/3 innings pitched for a 0.93 career ERA. Simply put, Schneider, a multiple-time all-state selection with a couple of no-hitters on his résumé, was a spectacular high school pitcher — arguably one of the most accomplished Texas high school pitchers over the past decade.
In every sense of the word, Schneider was Cleburne’s ace. He started every game 1 in the playoffs over a three-year span, winning all but one of his game 1 postseason starts, which proved huge in Cleburne’s postseason success from 2013-15 as the Jackets almost assuredly had a 1-0 series lead thanks to Schneider’s dominance on the mound.
In his senior year, Schneider went 9-1 with a 0.95 ERA with 89 strikeouts against nine earned runs and 11 walks allowed in 66 2/3 innings as he earned All-Johnson County pitcher of the year honors.
In his final high school start on the mound, Schneider pitched a complete-game shutout in a 2-0 win in game 1 of the Class 5A regional quarterfinals against Fort Worth Arlington Heights. Schneider pitched all seven innings as he allowed just four hits and two walks with nine strikeouts, giving him the school record for career pitching wins. Cleburne went on to lose games 2 and 3, ending the Jackets’ promising season a few rounds short of their goal.
As a junior in 2014, Schneider went 11-2 with two saves. He had 101 strikeouts compared to only 18 walks on the season with 10 earned runs allowed for a stellar 0.80 ERA in 88 innings pitched to garner the All-Johnson County pitcher of the year accolade.
In addition to going 16-0 in his sophomore year, Schneider recorded 119 strikeouts and allowed 15 earned runs, 16 walks and 63 hits in 100 innings pitched for an ERA of 1.06. It was the first of three All-Johnson County pitcher of the year honors as well as first-team all-state recognition.
Perhaps what was most impressive about Schneider’s pitching was that he never really had overpowering stuff. It wasn’t like he went out there and just threw 99 mph pitches past outmatched high school batters. Schneider was a master technician and it was always the details that made him great. His location was always outstanding and he knew how to outwit opponents with his pitch selection. While some high school phenoms are more or less just talented “throwers,” Schneider was a true pitcher.
While Schneider’s pitching dominance may be what most Jacket baseball fans remember, he also swung a steady bat for Cleburne. In fact, Schneider led a stacked Cleburne lineup with a team-high 40 RBIs in 2014. Schneider’s most memorable hit was a walk-off two-RBI single in game 1 of the 2013 regional semifinal playoffs for a 3-2 win against Wolfforth Frenship.
After a phenomenal prep career in Cleburne, Schneider continued his baseball career with the University of Texas at Arlington. The Mavericks transitioned Schneider into a bullpen role as a reliever instead of a starting pitcher.
Schneider made 20 appearances for the Mavericks as a freshman in 2016, where he boasted a 2.70 ERA with 32 strikeouts in 36 2/3 innings. Schneider’s career numbers with UTA include 74 strikeouts in 106 2/3 innings with a 4.56 ERA.
Fun fact: After Schneider went 16-0 in his first season in Cleburne, his younger brother was also perfect his debut season with the Jackets. In 2019, freshman Cooper Schneider went 10-0 on the mound with 13 earned runs and 24 walks allowed with 59 strikeouts in 70 1/3 innings for a 1.29 ERA.