In a rematch of last year’s District 2 Class 3A championship game with Valley View, the sophomore pitcher twirled a two-hitter with 11 strikeouts in 6.1 innings as the Trojans blanked the Cougars, 2-0, in their Lackawanna League opener. Here’s more from Deom’s interview:
Did you have any nerves getting the ball for opening day? Of course. Since last year, I had pretty high expectations to live up to (6-1, 0.41 ERA). The nerves are there, but after the first couple pitches, it’s just playing baseball, the game that you love, and everything was smooth sailing from there.
When runs are at a premium like they were, does it sharpen your focus? Your focus is definitely a lot greater. It’s easier pitching with a five-run, six-run lead. But those tight games, it helps you stay focused. Keep on executing, pitch by pitch. Once you get tired late in the game, you really need to focus on hitting your spots.
What pitch was working best against Valley View? Definitely my two-seam and cutter. Those complement each other very well. You come inside with the two-seam and then work the cutter away.
What’s the coolest thing that’s happened to you in your varsity career? This will sound pretty cliche, but just spending time with your teammates. Last year, we had a great run, playing well after school ended so it was nice being with those seniors a little extra time. This year, it all starts with morning workouts at 6 a.m. in December. It’s a fun time to be with your friends.
Class clown on the team would be … (Shortstop) Pat Kravitz. He’s funny and a nice person to be around. He energizes the team. We all feed off it.
What’s the best lesson baseball has taught you? Not to get too big a head. One day you’re doing amazing pitching and hitting you have a really bad day. Baseball is a game of failure, as they say. It keeps you level-headed. You stay humble and there is always something to get better at.
Who’s had the biggest influence on you, baseball-wise? Definitely my dad. Two years old, I remember hitting Wiffle balls out in the front yard and playing catch with him. We go hit every day now, we keep on throwing, he takes me to all my travel tournaments.
What’s the one part of your game that you wish you could improve most? Pitching I’d like to gain more velocity and hit my spots better, and hitting I can definitely improve. More power, more contact.
Can you make a run like you did last year to the state semifinals? I really believe we do. We have a lot of young talent this year, and talent is all you really need. We all work together really well. We’ve been playing together since we were 9 years old in all-stars. The chemistry is definitely there.
What’s the biggest improvement you’ve seen in any player from last year to this year? Our varsity catcher Jake Mastillo had some big shoes to fill with Matt Fisch last year. Our first game, he called all the pitches. He did very well. He can also mash the ball. We’ve been friends forever.
You only threw 79 pitches and struck out 11. What’s the key? I like keeping my tempo quick. I don’t like to walk around the mound, fix my glove, wipe off all the sweat. I like a faster tempo and just pound as many strikes as I could.
What’s it like knowing you have somebody you can trust to come in when you run out of gas? Cory Wall has been shut-down since last year. Basically all I need to do is keep them off balance. I don’t care if I strike everybody out or everybody grounds out. It’s just getting it to that point where I know Cory can close it out.
One player you wish was a teammate. Mid Valley’s J.J. Glinsky. I play a lot of travel ball with him and I know he’s a great teammate and a great kid to be around.
Three people you’d like to have dinner with? Pat Kravitz, Will Farrell and Selena Gomez. It’s a solid three.
Where do you hope baseball takes you down the road? Obviously I want to take it one year at a time. A district championship, hopefully a state championship and then play for a college team.