Just 27 innings pitched in three years at Pacific. 1,095 days later he became the Sunday starter for the Boxers, and the backbone of a team struggling to find itself.
Throughout the course of a season, where the playoffs immediately felt out of reach, senior Matt Delegato pushed on and brought the Boxers back at the tail end of many series’.
He became the iron arm, unwilling to submit. The one who put the finishing blow to a team that dared step across the white chalky lines of Chuck Bafaro Stadium.
Reeling in a 7-1 record, Head Coach Greg Bradley said he was impressed by Delegato’s performance.
“He’s been a really great story for us, one of the greatest stories in my 20 years of coaching,” said Bradley.
Delegato maintained a 1.66 ERA throughout 76 innings pitched, the best on the team by considerable standards.
Although Delegato is set to graduate this May, he still has a year of eligibility to continue playing baseball.
In order to do this he would have to enroll in a master’s program at Pacific.
Delegato said he’s not ruling anything out, but he said he thinks the idea of coming back for another season is unlikely.
“I’ve thrown so many innings this year, I’m ready for a break,” said Delegato.
Bradley perked up at the idea of possibly getting his senior star back for another season. “Someone needs to tell him to come back. Take basket weaving,” joked the long time coach.
“Everyone’s been telling me to play another year,” said Delegato, “but I think I’m going to take a year off.”
Delegato suggested his arm was healthy enough to continue playing. “I’ve thrown more this year than I’ve ever thrown.”
In reflection of a lifelong career Delegato said, “I’ll miss going out to pitch the Sunday game. But all the seniors got to play a role in our final game. And for me, it was especially nice to go out in front of a home crowd.”
Being from Hillsboro, Delegato said he was happy his family got to see him pitch.
For other players looking to achieve what Delegato did this season he offered some key advice. “Just stick with it, even if you don’t have success.”
Time, hard work and determination were traits that set Delegato apart from being anything but average.
The Boxers will be parting with a truly inspirational story.