CLASS C AT LITCHFIELD: Dumont’s HOFer relishes tourney game despite loss to Kimball

By Nick Gerhardt

He’s got a hall of fame name and in Dumont he’s in a class of his own. 

Dumont’s Mike Schmidt is a legend in many respects, especially lately. Schmidt, 82, has watched Saints baseball since the late 1940s and doesn’t miss a game — home or away. 

Making Friday’s opening round game for Dumont against Kimball in Litchfield was no doubter, even though he spent the better part of the previous month undergoing cancer treatment.

“I’d come in a hospital bed,” said Mike, who got released from the hospital earlier in the week.

The stage four bone cancer he faced spread to his vertebrae and he no longer has a C9 or C10 vertebrae. 

“It’s all air and liquid so there’s nothing holding him up,” said Mike’s son, Chad. 

He’s also battled lymphoma and prostate cancer. Mike takes 30 pills a day, twice a day. While he spent time in the hospital a nurse asked him if he wanted to go for a walk.

“He said, ‘Yeah, I want to walk to Minneota,’” Chad said. “That’s where our region [tournament] was.”

Mike didn’t need a hospital bed or need to walk to Litchfield. His daughter, Lisa, drove him down to the game. All Mike needed was a walker and he got the best seat in the house.

Chad has spent around 25 years as the team’s general manager, doing all the behind-the-scenes work for the team. Together they’ve witnessed some of the best years of Saints baseball recently. 

Erik Deal, who played with Dumont for many years before retiring at the end of last year, lives kitty-corner to Mike, who’s better known as “Redbird” though the beard has more of a white shade these days. 

“He always stops by when he sees me and gives me a hard time,” Deal said.

Mike sat next to his 95-year-old sister who drove up from the cities for the game and cracked wise while visiting with everyone from the Wheaton and Dumont area.

“Before the game started it was just a steady stream of people shaking Mike’s hand,” said Dumont supporter and friend of Schmidt, Amy Churchill.

Dumont plays its games in Wheaton and Mike puts up handwritten signs announcing game days in two locations in town.

Mike’s cancer is in remission now and he hoped to put out signs to announce the next week’s state tournament game. 

Instead, Kimball came away with a 4-2 come-from-behind win after Brooks Marquardt singled in the top of the eighth with the bases-loaded to score two runs to break a 2-2 tie.

Dumont led 2-0 after the first inning when Jordon Roos singled and scored on a double from Matt Thielen. Thielen later scored on an Isaiah Sykora double but Express starter Zak Wallner settled in after that and allowed one hit until exiting in the top of the ninth. Tommy Freisen got a double play and a ground out to second base to preserve the win. 

Kimball tied the game in the top of the sixth with a pair of runs. Cade Marquardt singled to start the inning, moved to third on an error and scored on a groundout by Scott Marquardt. Zach Schmidt singled to score Cody Leither, who pinch ran for Adam Beyer after he reached on an error. 

Roos allowed four runs — two earned — on nine hits, walked four and struck out 10 in the loss.

Kimball will face Region 8 champion Buckman next Saturday at 7 p.m.

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