Dave Delvecchio might be smaller, but he’s playing much bigger.
Delvecchio is a senior outfielder on the Archbishop Ryan High School baseball team. He’s also a captain and hits second in the Raiders lineup.
After his junior year, he wasn’t sure if he was even going to be on the team.
“The biggest thing is I lost a lot of weight after last year,” Delvecchio said. “I’m about 185 (pounds) now and I was 205 or 210 last year. I didn’t know what was wrong, I just thought I wasn’t playing well.”
As Delvecchio’s weight goes down, his batting average is going up.
“My problem was I wasn’t fast enough to hit,” Delvecchio said. “I was slow, I didn’t get my hands through on a swing. I just wasn’t healthy and now that I lost the weight, I feel so much better. I feel healthier and I can see I’m playing better. It’s all about putting in the work. I wanted to play and after I lost the weight, I’m playing much better.”
Delvecchio didn’t go on a crash diet, he didn’t give up all the great food he likes, and he didn’t even make a concerted effort to drop the pounds. What he did was run a lot.
“Last summer was really hot and I played basketball all the time,” Delvecchio said. “It doesn’t sound like much, I wasn’t playing to lose weight. I was mostly playing to play and have fun, but as it happened, I was having fun and feeling better.”
Now Delvecchio is feeling great as the Raiders are competing for a top spot in the Catholic League.
After winning four games a season ago, Ryan is 4–2 in league play and is well on its way to a berth in the playoffs.
Not only has Delvecchio come a long way, so have the Raiders, and he attributes it to the hard work the team has been putting in on a daily basis.
“Our attitude is we can win, we know we have the talent, we just have to do it,” Delvecchio said. “I don’t think we knew what to expect, especially when we got a new coach, but things have been going great.
“For me, I’m playing much better, and I think it’s because I’m working harder. We all know what we need to do, now we’re doing it.”
That means doing whatever is best for the team.
At the start of the year, the Morrell Park native was penciled in as the rightfielder. After some moves, he was shifted to left field.
Not only has he learned a new position, but he’s tacked on some added responsibility when first-year head coach Nick Chichilitti named him captain.
“At the beginning of the season, we didn’t have captains because coach wanted us to earn it and have somebody step up,” Delvecchio said. “I was very happy he picked me. I think he liked the way I play.
“I think I play the way he wanted us to. I really don’t care about anything other than winning. I want to win. I just go out there to win. It’s the way we’re all playing now. I just try to do my best to lead the way. When you’re a captain, you have to lead by example.”
Delvecchio has high hopes for the remainder of the season, and he’s starting to think about what he’ll do next year.
If things work out, he’ll hook up with a college where he’ll continue his baseball career and possibly study nursing.
If not, he has other goals.
“I want to see if anyone contacts me and asks me to play, I would love to play college baseball,” Delvecchio said. “If not, I might go to trade school … maybe join the electricians union, but I’m going to see what happens first. College is the goal.”
So is a Catholic League championship.
Earlier this year, Delvecchio helped his Christ the King CYO basketball team make the championship before falling to Our Lady of Calvary, which was led by many of his friends at Ryan.
Now he wants to win with his friends. And he believes the goal is in reach.
“The Catholic League is great, there are a lot of teams who can win it,” Delvecchio said. “We can do it.
“I knew we could do it. I know a lot of these guys, I grew up with them and I knew we had a good team. We have been playing good so far, and we can win the championship. I think all you have to do is outwork the other teams. That’s what we’re trying to do.” ••