Davis Schneider's coach at Eastern - as well as the coaches of his team's division rivals - are quick with praise for the senior third baseman.

That's no surprise, since Davis set single-season and career hitting records for the Vikings and also handled his business at the hot corner with remarkable aplomb.

But it's worthy noting that admiration for Schneider's work seems to spring as much from appreciation of his approach to the game as regard for his hitting and fielding.

"People see Davis Schneider, and they clearly recognize what kind of player he is," Eastern coach Rob Christ said. "But unless you see him frequently, you don't see all the nuances, all the intangibles that he brings to the field every single day.

"They don't see the character, the motor, the drive, the professionalism, for lack of a better term."

Schneider batted .444 with 40 RBIs this season, set the school record with 16 doubles, and played his typically terrific third base.

Schneider led Eastern to a 22-7 record and the No. 5 spot in the final top 25 rankings. He is the Inquirer's South Jersey baseball player of the year.

But it was that "professionalism" that struck rival coaches as much as those line drives into the gap and sharp plays in the field.

"Davis is a top-five all-time opponent for me," Cherokee coach Marc Petragnani said. "He plays hard, respects his opponents, and is a joy to coach against except when you are forced to pitch against him.

"I made a point to thank his mother at our last regular-season game for a job well done. He's a great kid, a fantastic baseball player, and a true gentleman."

Lenape coach Phil Fiore echoed Petragnani's comments about Schneider.

"Davis Schneider to me was a complete player," Fiore said. "Not only was he an offensive power, but he made playing third base look easy.

"A student of the game with a steady, professional attitude. Davis was the type of player that every coach dreams about having on their team."

Christ said Schneider's work ethic was the key to his ability to improve over the course of his career.

"Work ethic, second to none," Christ said. "He has that intensity of focus, that commitment to make himself into a better player that you just don't see very often."

Schneider was selected by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 28th round of the major-league draft Wednesday. He has agreed to contract terms, opting to begin his professional career rather than attend Rutgers University on a baseball scholarship.

Schneider was a starter from day one for Eastern.

"I remember freshman year like it was yesterday, playing with Tommy Flacco," Schneider said of the former Eastern baseball and football star. "People say high school goes fast. It went really fast."

Schneider said he worked hard to improve his conditioning and add speed and agility during his career. He said he lost nearly 25 pounds between his junior and senior seasons.

"I really wanted to improve my speed," Schneider said. "I think it made a big difference for me."

Schneider finished his career with 138 hits, a school record.

"That wasn't a goal, but it's humbling to know," Schneider said.

Asked to describe his top accomplishment in his career, Schneider quickly noted a team success.

"Winning the Diamond Classic last season," Schneider said. "That was the first time for our school. That was big."

Christ spent four years watching Schneider rope line drives into the outfield and gobble ground balls. But that's not what the coach will miss about Eastern's all-time hit leader and one of the program's best-ever defensive players.

"It's his immeasurables," Christ said. "Davis has qualities that you can't measure, you just can't quantify."

@PhilAnastasia

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