Sports - Will County

Joliet Catholic’s T.J. Schlageter commits to Louisville

The left-handed pitcher led the Hilltoppers to the Class 2A state championship as a junior

The Louisville baseball program is fast becoming “Joliet Catholic Academy South.”

With former Hilltopper Christian Knapczyk already on the roster and Joliet Catholic senior-to-be Trey Swiderski already committed, the Cardinals added another player to trade the brown and white of JCA to Louisville’s cardinal red and black.

Left-handed pitcher T.J. Schlageter recently announced his commitment to play for the Cardinals.

In the spring, Schlageter was the ace pitcher for the Hilltoppers during their run to the Class 2A state championship. He finished the season with a 9-2 record. He allowed 42 hits, 19 earned runs and 10 walks while striking out 71 batters in 56 innings. He finished the season with a 2.38 ERA.

Schlageter is more than just a pitcher, though. He figures to be the starting quarterback for the Hilltoppers football team in the fall and should play a big role for the basketball team in the winter before beginning a baseball title defense. With a plate that full, he feels that making his college decision now will make his senior year more relaxing.

Joliet Catholic’s TJ Schlageter fires a pitch against Columbia Friday, June 3, 2022 during the IHSA Class 2A baseball state semifinal.

“It’s nice to get that off my plate,” said Schlagter, who also was considering TCU, Indiana, Northwestern and Central Michigan. “Not only to be going to a program like Louisville, but now I can look forward to my senior year and not have to worry about making a college decision.

“Louisville has made it a point to win with guys from the Midwest, and that was appealing to me. It was definitely a big contributing factor.”

Schlageter has already had a busy summer, dividing time between football and baseball.

“We finished at the state baseball tournament in early June,” Schlageter said. “Then it was football camp at 7 a.m. that following Monday. My summer baseball team [the Cangelosi Sparks] went to a tournament in Hoover, Alabama, and then me and Trey and [JCA baseball] coach [Jared] Voss went with Team Illinois to a tournament in Baton Rouge. My travel team is at another tournament in Indianapolis right now, and football starts Aug. 8.

“It’s been a busy summer, but that’s what it takes to be successful.”

Schlageter will be happy to focus on only one sport once he gets to Louisville.

“I will miss the physicality of football and the running up and down the court in basketball,” Schlageter said. “But, it will be nice to be able to dedicate all my focus on baseball. I think by doing that, I can take a big jump forward.”