Dean Diamantopoulos loves the game of baseball, but more specifically, is fixated with pitching.
Ever since his freshman season at , when Diamantopoulos transitioned to pitching from catching, he has focused on improving his game on the mound.
“I love to pitch because I love being in control of the game, and I love the pressure and adrenaline during tight situations,” Diamantopoulos said.
Diamantopoulos just finished his junior year at Anna Maria College, where he played on the baseball team and finished with a 4-2 record, a 3.56 ERA, 23 strikeouts and 6 walks.
“My worst critic is myself, but looking back on the season I am pretty satisfied with my play,” Diamantopoulos said. “What I am happy with the most this season is my control of all four of my pitches.”
Diamantopoulos and the Amcats finished the season with a 26-19 record and were co-champions of the Eastern Coast Athletic Conference.
“Our record could have been a little better because we didn’t play well in all three phases–pitching, defense, hitting–of the game until playoff time, but it showed finishing as ECAC co-champions and [being] known as one of the top division 3 baseball teams in New England,” Diamantopoulos said.
While much of Diamantopoulos’ success came from his own hard work, he made sure to acknowledge the role his teammates and coach played this season.
“I would like to give a lot of credit to our coaching staff as well as my teammates,” Diamantopoulos said. “Head coach Dave McNamara got coach of the year within the Worcester area, and he is the ring leader to all of our team’s success. I also am very impressed with the play of my teammates–I wouldn’t have pitched as well as I did if it wasn’t for the defense playing behind me.”
Diamantopoulos played four seasons of high school baseball at Shrewsbury High School, making the team as a catcher, but moved to pitching and being the designated hitter, as well as playing first base.
Looking back, Diamantopoulos’ high school experience helped mould him into the player he is today.
“I believe Shrewsbury baseball helped me a lot, especially being a four-year varsity player,” said Diamantopoulos. “I learned so much mentally and physically from Coach Costa and Coach O’Connell. I had the most fun ever playing with my teammates during high school that got me ready for college.”
After graduating from Shrewsbury High in 2007, Diamantopoulos spent one postgraduate year at Cushing Academy to improve his academic standings.
In addition, Diamantopoulos used the time at Cushing to decide whether he wanted to play baseball, football or basketball–all three of which he played during his time at Shrewsbury.
“Out of high school, I was getting recruited for football more than anything,” Diamantopoulos said. “I love all three sports, so [during] my time at Cushing, I also figured out what I wanted to play in college, which happened to be baseball.”
“I enjoy the atmosphere of the game of baseball, and at Cushing I also received defensive player of the year with a sub-3 ERA. I also made the honor roll at Cushing, so my year there was a success.”
Naturally, Diamantopoulos has noticed major difference between baseball at the high school and college levels.
“In college, even at the Division 3 level, is a huge jump,” Diamantopoulos said. “Usually the two best players from every high school team go on the play college, so every college is pretty much like an all-star team.”
“College baseball players don’t make mistakes, and if you do the other team will do their best to capitalize on your mistake. As a pitcher, it’s all about throwing strikes and hitting spots,” he said.
Diamantopoulos, a criminal justice major, plans to become a juvenile probation officer following his time at Anna Maria.
“I think I could make a difference helping kids when it comes to juvenile crime and corruption,” he said.
However, Diamantopoulos hasn’t completely put aside the thought of playing pro baseball.
“If I get the attention from scouts, I would play professional ball in a heartbeat,” Diamantopoulos said. “Realistically, I would have to gain 3-5 miles [per hour] on my fastball to have a chance to get drafted. I don’t expect it, but it’s not out of reach.”
Even if Diamantopoulos doesn’t get the chance to play pro ball, the lessons he’s learned from the game will last him a lifetime.
“Baseball can relate to everyday life, especially when it comes to adversity,” Diamantopoulos said. “Baseball is a game of failure, but it’s how you respond and how you handle the failure that matters. This relates in life too."
"The most successful baseball players live in the moment, not in the past, and not in the future. Focus at the task at hand.”