Diamond Nation tied its annual college commitment celebration on Sunday together with its College Recruiting Seminar, sending its seniors out in style and schooling the next generation of Diamond Jacks and their parents on the finer points of the college recruitment game.
Lafayette assistant coach Tim Reilly provided great insight to the college recruitment process from his perspective while Diamond Nation’s recruitment coordinator Steve DiTrolio guided the players and parents through a nuts-and-bolts overview of what they can expect the next few years.
Kevin Cust, Diamond Nation’s director of baseball operations, and Travis Anderson, on-field coordinator, also provided critical input from both of their experiences as a recruited player and as a coach.
DiTrolio referred to the ideal recruiting situation as “when preparation meets opportunity.” He went on to break down the challenges, in sheer numbers, that young players face in their quest to earn a spot with an NCAA college program.
Did you know that 491,790 boys play high school baseball and just 7.1% go on to play at some level of NCAA college ball? Those small numbers make Diamond Nation’s coaching staff and recruiting staff work that much harder to give their charges the best opportunities to attract the attention of college colleges.
“You have to determine when you are ready to go to a showcase or a college camp,” said DiTrolio. “Your Diamond Jack coach can help give you that answer.”
That is why Diamond Nation makes such a big deal about its college commitments. In fact, an amazing 19 Diamond Jacks in the Class of 2020 have committed to play college baseball. They have worked hard, persevered and overcome one challenge after another to continue their dream of playing college baseball while earning an academic degree.
While DiTrolio emphasized the importance of timing things right in the recruitment process, Reilly, a catcher during his playing days at Rutgers, made an important point about being unafraid to fail.
“Most of us consider going 0-for-3 as failing,” said Reilly, “but there is much more to that. I usually have a pretty good idea going in that that guy I’m looking at is pretty athletic. And one of the things I’m looking for is what he does when he goes 0-for-3.”
One man’s 0-for-3 can be very different from another man’s 0-for-3.
“I might see a guy go 0-for-3 with three strikeouts but he looked like he went 3-for-3 with 3 home runs.” Reilly’s point is, “Failing is not the worst thing. Actually, I wouldn’t make a move on a guy until I see him fail and then see how he reacts to it.”
Reilly spent two years as an assistant at Rider University and five more years at Rutgers before joining the impressive Lafayette staff headed by 21-year mentor Joe Kinney. He was also an assistant for a short time at Holy Spirit high school. Reilly suggests, “Just play the game and let it take care of itself.”
DiTrolio and Reilly both addressed misconceptions about the value of high school statistics.
“We look at different things than those hard numbers,” says Reilly. “We might hear about a guy hitting .450 with 20 steals but he has seven singles through the six-hole. Where we play you’ll get one of those and we’re going to shift on you.”
Reilly said the “metric thing” is starting to become an important part of the college game and the recruiting process. “The ball might come off your bat or the tee at 105 but if you can’t hit a curveball or lay off a ball in the dirt you’re going to have a hard time playing.”
Diamond Jacks Commitments
The Diamond Jacks honor 19 of its players for committing to play baseball in college. They are; Gave Stellpflug (Somerville/Maryland), Luke Storm (Easton Pa./Duke), Drew Conover (Voorhees/Seton Hall Univ.), Mike Horn (North Hunterdon/Washington College), Rush Ehrhart (North Hunterdon/Gettysburg College), Max Andrade (Voorhees/UMass), Kyle Mahady (Nazareth Pa./St. Peter’s), Nate Scott (New Providence/Ithaca).
And Zach Sylvester (Montville/Seton Hall Univ.), Aidan Kane (Delbarton/Delaware), Tyler Joseph (Moravian Academy Pa./Army), Sebastian Mueller (St. Joseph Met./Quinnipiac), Ben Iervolino (Hunt. Central/Mount St. Mary), Alex Stone (Newton/Duke), Matt Gluck (West Morris/Franklin & Marshall), Jon Travisano (Bridgewater-Raritan/Elizabethtown), Greg Bozzo (Ridge/LaSalle), Adam Boucher (St. Joseph Met./Duke) and Dean Kirian (Scotch Plains-Fanwood/Salve Regina).