Dylan Delacruz – GAMER

I took a ride down to Bridgeport’s Harbor Yard Friday to watch Sacred Heart and Central

CT State Baseball battle it out.  It turned out to be not much a game, as SHU buried

CCSU 9-0.  Starting for CCSU in left field is my former shortstop at St. Bernard, Dylan

Delacruz.  In high school Dylan did it all, made all-ecc, all-state, junior and senior state

all-star games, Zone MVP in legion after his senior year, and much more.  The best part

about Dylan is that I can’t say that I ever saw him dog it on a baseball field, or basketball

court for that matter.  When people want to know what it takes to get to the next level,

take a good look at this kid.  Polite to a fault, kind to all that come into contact with him,

a relentless perfectionist when it comes to hitting and working on his game.  Did you

catch the early sentence where I said he was my former shortstop, but now plays left

field in college?  He was the best player in Eastern CT in 2010, a shortstop who could do

it all.  He received a baseball scholarship from Coach Hickey at Central.  When he arrived

on campus, Coach told him they had enough infielders so they want Dylan to try outfield.

Instead of whining or complaining which wouldn’t do him any good, he borrowed an outfield

glove from a teammate and became the starting left fielder immediately during his

freshman season.  It hasn’t come easy, the transition from infield to outfield but I am

happy to report he is doing just fine.  Last year he made the Northeast Conference All-Tournament

Team after belting 7 hits in 3 games at Dodd Stadium.  A couple things he did today I

wish I could have shown to all local high school baseball players on how to conduct

themselves on a field, and it had nothing to do with talent.  In the top of the third inning

he skied a fly ball to fairly deep center field.  Nothing great about that, except that even

though the whole ballpark knew it was going to be an out, Dylan was a step shy of SECOND

BASE when the center fielder caught the ball.  How many times do you see kids loaf out of

the box when they know they are going to be out?  In the 6th he came up and singled

through the left side of the infield, then made a great read on a ball in the dirt and took second.

On the next pitch, the batter popped up to the 3rd baseman who was attempting to

catch the ball in foul ground between third and home.  Dylan hustled all the way around

the bases and ended up right behind the 3rd baseman as he attempted to make the play.

The 3B took his eyes off the ball when he heard Dylan behind him and the ball dropped

into foul territory, giving the batter a second life.  That is all about hustle, it doesn’t

take any amount of talent to work hard and hustle.  The last play he made was in the

top of the 8th inning and CCSU trailing 9-0, he grounded out to third base and took

off for first.  The throw was a little wide, causing the first baseman to come off the bag

and attempt to tag Dylan.  Dylan tried to avoid the tag by sliding hard into first base

feet first, and causing contact with the first baseman.  He was out, the 1b was a little shaken

up but as Dylan jogged back to the dugout he gave the 1B a slap on the rear end.  There

was no trash talk, no bravado, just two Divison 1 ballplayers playing hard.  The moral

of this story is this:  there are all kinds of parents and personal hitting and pitching

instructors out there who think their kids or students are “D 1.”  The best thing I can say

to people is go watch a D 1 game, go watch the great kids like Dylan Delacruz hustle and

play their hearts out like every play of every game is their last.  Sure, they have talent

but what they also have is a desire to play the game the right way each and every day.

I think all kids could benefit from seeing that.

3 responses to “Dylan Delacruz – GAMER”

  1. JHK says:

    Great read on a great kid! Wish him all the best!

  2. Susan Fantasia says:

    As Dylan’s Mom, I have never questioned a motive of a coach. I always told Dylan, if you aren’t playing then figure out why and try harder. Bill, you along with Mr. Leone, are without a doubt some of the best to coach Dylan. You made him earn his spot constantly – and keep his grades up. So while I too really miss watching him play infield in college, he was thrilled to play anywhere. He loves just playing. No doubt his brothers constant saying is still with him, “Earn every step, every time you are on that field and when you don’t think you have to, you don’t deserve to play.” We will be forever grateful that you are a great part of his life.

  3. JMC says:

    Wonderfully written piece about a great guy. All of us, despite our age, could benefit from knowing Dylan and learning from him. “Gentleman” seems like an odd refrence to a 19 year old athelete these days, unless you are refering to Dylan Delacruz. He puts the spirit back into the game. I wish him nothing but the best.

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