WNC arms pitching staff with DeLallo | TahoeDailyTribune.com

WNC arms pitching staff with DeLallo

Steve Yingling, Tribune sports editor

Max DeLallo doesn’t want to be a spectator his first two years of college baseball.

The hard-throwing South Tahoe High senior hurler also looked for a college program known for advancing the careers of its pitchers and caring about the education of its players.

DeLallo found those attributes with Western Nevada College in Carson City, making his decision to join one of the top baseball teams in the National Junior College Athletic Association a rather easy one.

“I looked into what would benefit me the most as a pitcher. What is going to help me develop?” DeLallo said. “Which schools sent pitchers to the next level, whether that be a four-year school or the draft. Over past years, most of their pitchers ended up going on to the next level,” DeLallo said.

DeLallo did his research. In its first four years as a baseball program, WNC has sent 47 players to pro baseball or four-year universities. Thirty of those players receiving promotions went to NCAA Division I programs.

WNC coach D.J. Whittemore is ecstatic about the potential of the 6-foot-3 DeLallo, who received a half-ride scholarship, according to South Tahoe coach Don Amaral.

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“We had Max come down and work out, and it was obvious he has the kind of stuff that can be successful in college,” Whittemore said. “Max is a big body that has strong legs and a very durable arm. His fastball has been in the mid-80s the few times we have seen him but has some sink on the ball that will play well to wood bats. In addition his breaking pitch is very advanced for a high school pitcher.”

DeLallo hasn’t signed his official letter to attend WNC, but that appears to be a mere formality at the point despite some interest from the University of Nevada, San Jose State and UC-Irvine.

“If I got to a four-year school, I may not get too much playing time the first few years,” DeLallo said. “At WNC they needed pitchers right now. I wanted to be able to go in there and be in the starting rotation.”

And Whittemore believes that DeLallo can make an immediate impact on his pitching staff.

“We are expecting Max to make some jumps in terms of his command and consistency this fall, which will allow him to compete for one of the top spots on our staff,” Whittemore said.

Going into his senior season at South Tahoe High, DeLallo wasn’t on the radar of many college baseball programs. That changed quickly when DeLallo opened the season by nearly shutting out Lassen and then holding Damonte Ranch and Douglas – two of Northern Nevada most respected 4A programs – in check.

DeLallo posted a 3-6 won-loss record and 4.89 earned run average on a Vikings’ team that struggled defensively and finished with a 7-23 record.

“I’m excited to see what he’ll do with a (solid) defense behind him,” Amaral said.

Amaral played a major role in convincing WNC to pursue DeLallo, according to Whittemore.

“Coach Amaral has seen us play as much as anyone and knows what it takes to be successful in our program. So for him to recommend Max carried a lot of weight in my mind,” Whittemore said.

Even though wins were hard to come by, DeLallo overpowered many teams with his fastball and complementary curveball. He set a school record by whiffing 17 North Valleys batters in a late-season win that ranks as one of the top-10 strikeout performances in Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association history. Other highlights were his 12-strikeout, two-hit performance against Douglas, a 12-strikeout, 133-pitch outing in a win against Elko, 11 punchouts in 4 2/3 innings against Damonte Ranch and a one-hitter and 12 strikeouts in a 9-1 win over Lassen to open the season.

Taking the next step in his pitching career, which started in the South Tahoe National Little League Minor-A Division at age 9, excites DeLallo.

“I’ll take what I gained this year and apply it to the next level. It’s the best of best, and I’ll be facing competition where it’s all ballplayers, not like high school where kids are playing baseball just to play it,” DeLallo said. “That’s why I need to prepare myself this summer and be in the best shape of my life.”

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