Growing up in a military household - his father, Dwight, was a Marine - one of the first few words Clate learned were "sir" and "ma'am" as signs of respect. He was taught never to make excuses, and he learned at an early age that he was responsible for his actions on and off the field. He knew better than to blame a loss on someone or something else.
"Games are not won or lost on the last out," Dwight Schmidt said.
Instead of pointing fingers, Clate Schmidt evaluates himself after losses and makes adjustments.
He's taken that approach ever since he started playing baseball at age 7. The Clemson-bound Schmidt, who just finished a stellar career at Allatoona High School, can throw a 90-plus mph fastball and hit for power.
He maintained a .442 batting average going into the Buccaneers' loss to Thomson in Class AAA quarterfinals. He also posted a 1.09 ERA and had a Cobb County-high 97 strikeouts while leading the Buccaneers to a 27-7 overall record in just their third season as a program.
With his high school playing days behind him, Schmidt has a challenge to look forward to. At the end of the school year, he found out he would be one of 144 players in the nation who was invited to tryout for Team America at the Tournament of Stars, which begins June 21 in Cary, N.C.
"For me, I'm truly honored. I couldn't even speak when I first found out," Schmidt said. "It would be an honor to represent my country if I make the team. I'm always learning how patriotic my dad is and seeing how he acts. I just want to do something for the country."
Schmidt's game developed and matured while playing for various summer-ball organizations. While he was growing as a player, Schmidt discovered he was blessed with the ability to throw and see pitches. That explains why his offensive numbers were as impressive as his pitching statistics.
While Clate was growing up, Dwight Schmidt played a dual role as father and coach. But when Clate was 12, his father left home for a seven-month tour of duty in Iraq.
With his father absent, Clate discovered quickly that family came first before baseball, and he was required to take on more responsibilities around the house.
"When he went off to war, I had to learn how to help my mother and help my brother," Schmidt said. "It showed me that I had to live life to the fullest and go through it with a humbling experience."
But Schmidt still made time for baseball and he continued to progress.
"I think his dad and mom did good job raising him," Allatoona coach Keith Hansen said. "Everything he does, his parents hold him accountable. Good grades, bad grades - he's held accountable. The best thing is, he doesn't put blame on anybody else. He holds himself accountable and, sometimes, he does that too much. I even told him you're going to fail six out of 10 times to be good high school batter."
Hansen remembers Allatoona's second-round win over St. Pius X, when Schmidt was tough on himself after a rough outing in the series opener. Schmidt used that loss as motivation in the decisive third game when pitched three scoreless innings to help the Buccaneers secure a 7-6 win in 10 innings.
Even Schmidt admits to the high expectations he put upon himself.
"I want to work myself as hard as I can," Schmidt said. "For me, that's my only way to develop. You can never be perfect in baseball, but I want to be as close to perfect as you can be."