Taking the next step, DelGatto signs with Pasco-Hernando State College Conquistadors

Joey Delgatto, PHSC Coach Steve Winterling, Mom Amy, Dad Steve. Photo by JOE DiCRISTOFALO
NEWEST CONQUISTADOR – Springstead’s Joey DelGatto signs a letter of intent to play collegiate baseball for Pasco Hernando State College. DelGatto is flanked by PHSC Head Coach Steve Winterling, and his parents Amy and Steve DelGatto. Photo by JOE DiCRISTOFALO
BASEBALL

3-year SHS letterman

enjoyed best-ever year

in 2017 hitting .321

BY TONY CASTRO

HernandoSport.com

Joey Delgatto
Joey Delgatto

In a magical 2017 prep baseball campaign where eight different Springstead Eagles pieced together their best-ever seasons, Joseph “Joey” Crane DelGatto’s value could not be understated.

Under the guidance of third-year SHS skipper Shawn Laferty, the current 5-foot-11, 180-pound DelGatto sparkled.

DelGatto, who averaged .264 along his first two seasons on the Mariner Boulevard campus, became a two-way threat as a senior.

In the Spring Hill crew’s record-setting 24-4 won-lost season, DelGatto hit a career-best .321 at the plate, driving in a personal-best 26 runs batted in while hoisting a perfect 6-0 slate on the mound.

The right-hander finished second in the county in starts (11), third in victories (6) and ranked fourth in strikeouts (58).

His strikeout to walk ratio was better than 3:1.

The 18-year-old led the circuit in shutouts (1) and earned run average (0.44) while being consistently clocked in the high 80s.

The season concluded with DelGatto being named to the All-Hernando County All-Star team and recently signing with the New Port Richey-based Pasco-Hernando State College.

Joey Delgatto Photo by JOE DiCRISTOFALO
Joey Delgatto                                                                                                   Photo by JOE DiCRISTOFALO

DelGatto 411

Joey, as his teammates and friends call him, was born in Spring Hill as the youngest of three children to Steve and Amy DelGatto.

The DelGatto’s have called Hernando County home for the last 18 years.

Tracing his athletic roots, the brown-tressed and brown-eyed DelGatto began playing organized baseball with the Junior Rookies division of Spring Hill Dixie Baseball at 4 years old at the Anderson Snow Sports Complex.

Over the next 14 years, he’s played mostly pitcher and catcher.

In middle school, he attended Challenger K-8 and alternated between the point guard and shooting guard positions as an eighth-grader.

After matriculating to F.W. Springstead, he stuck to baseball playing for four seasons, the last three at the varsity level.

“When I got to Springstead, I wanted to play basketball, but I never tried out,” revealed DelGatto. “Instead, I just played with friends.”

On why he enjoys baseball, “I really enjoy hitting and pitching. My favorite part of hitting is hitting a homer,” smiled DelGatto. “It’s hard to explain. It’s like it’s an adrenaline rush.

“…When you’re pitching, the goal is to strike everyone out. You want to be dominant. Ideally you give up a hit or two, but the goal is to get a win.”

Mike Piazza
Mike Piazza

Joey’s baseball inspiration originated with his father.

Noah Syndergaard
Noah Syndergaard

“I watched baseball on TV with him. We went to games together. My favorite player is Mike Piazza. My favorite pitchers are (Noah) Syndergaard from the Mets and Chris Sale. My favorite hitter is Bryce Harper of the Nationals,” pointed out Del Gatto.

“My favorite part of the game is having a good game hitting.”

DelGatto broke into the varsity level with three hits in 11 at-bats for a .272 average in 2015.

The following season, he smashed 21 hits 27 games, hitting .262. Additionally, he scored 21 runs and drove in 20 RBI.

In a terrific senior season, DelGatto piled up 26 hits in 28 games. Only a late-season 2-for-25 slump slowed him down.

Shawn Laferty
Shawn Laferty

He also tallied 21 runs and ranked second on the team in RBI.

Toeing the rubber, he and teammate Jack Jasiak were interchangeable mound aces.

In describing DelGatto’s game, “Joey is a competitor … When things weren’t going his way on the mound, he just buckles down … To see him battle allowed him to become a better pitcher,” pointed out Coach Laferty. “What he brought? Quiet leadership … He led by example; he protected Johnny O … Had a fine senior year … Was at practice early every day … He worked hard in the off-season to get ready for this year, especially in the weight room … You’ve gotta tip your cap at his preparation.”

Joey DelGatto scores ahead of the throw during the home game versus Mitchell High. Photo by JOE DiCRISTOFALO
Joey DelGatto scores ahead of the throw during the home game versus Mitchell High. Photo by JOE DiCRISTOFALO

Two-time district champion

DelGatto was instrumental in the Eagles’ first-ever pair of 6A-6 titles in 41 seasons in 2016-17.

Nick Collins Photo by JOE DiCRISTOFALO
Nick Collins                                         Photo by JOE DiCRISTOFALO

“It wasn’t a coincidence that we had a lot of good players,” noted DelGatto. “To me, this year was better. I put in a lot of work in the off-season, mostly lifting weights and working off the pitching machine almost every day.

“When I worked out, Nick (Collins) spotted me. Some days we did higher weights, other days we do less weight, but more reps,“ detailed DelGatto.

After hitting .291 in 60 career games with 50 hits, “I would’ve liked my average to have been a little higher. I could’ve done better,” emphasized DelGatto.

On why this Springstead team was so special, “We had a lot of talent. We could also hit. We had a lot of fun together. It was a really tight group of guys,” offered DelGatto. “On what separated us? We worked the hardest. It was very competitive. On our team, if you didn’t work hard, you didn’t play.”

Asked what stood out, “Breaking the school’s all-time record for wins,” replied DelGatto. “I know there have been a lot of good teams here, but we passed the old record (1996’s 23-8). It’ll be hard to beat.”

On whether DelGatto has erased the memory of his final game, a regional quarterfinal 2-0 loss to Belleview?

“I don’t think they (Belleview) were the best team we played. For some reason, we didn’t hit that day,” summed up DelGatto.

“…I give myself an 8 out of 10 for my senior year and give the team a 9 out of the 10 for the season,” added DelGatto.

Joey DelGatto Photo by JOE DiCRISTOFALO
Joey DelGatto                                                                                               Photo by JOE DiCRISTOFALO

Search for the next level

In the classroom, DelGatto was no slouch.

He maintained a 3.4 unweighted and 3.9 weighted grade point average. Though he’s undecided on his major in college, he’d like to concentrate in mechanical engineering. His favorite courses at Springstead involved mathematics.

When he wasn’t practicing or playing baseball, he joined forces with teammate Dakota Blevens and volunteered working the concession stands and cleaning up Veterans Park in Hudson following recreational football games.

Pasco-Hernando State College

Looking to play at the next level, DelGatto boiled his choices of college down to D-II Barry University in Miami, Saint Michael’s College in Colchester, Vermont and PHSC.

“Ultimately, I chose PHSC because I wanted to stay close to home,” noted DelGatto. “Plus, it would be a lot cheaper. I talked to coach (Steve Winterling) and I liked the program. It seemed like a good idea to save some money for college.”

Springstead High Joey Delgatto got the start versus Lecanto. Photo by JOE DiCRISTOFALO
Springstead High Joey DelGatto got the start versus Lecanto. Photo by JOE DiCRISTOFALO

Looking ahead

“I’m ready for the next challenge,” offered DelGatto. “I do a lot on my own; I take care of myself.”

During the summer, he and teammate Johnny Oliveira will remain active playing in a college league on Sundays in Auburndale.

Before he heads to next tournament in Polk County he took a moment to reflect on his legacy at SHS.

“I’d like to be remembered for my hard work and character,” offered DelGatto. “I was always trying to get better and always wanting to help my team.”

By the Numbers:

Springstead’s Joey DelGatto (2015-17)

– Compiled by TONY CASTRO

HITTING

Joey DelGatto
Joey DelGatto
YEAR YR GP AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI .AVG

2015

10

5

11

2

3

1

0

1

1

.272

2016

11

27

80

21

21

4

1

0

20

.262

2017

12

28

81

21

26

5

0

2

26

.321

TOT 60 172 43 50 10  1   3  47 .291

PITCHING

YEAR AP GS CG IP H R ER BB KO SO W L ERA

2016

10

0

0

13.1

10

5

2

4

10

0

1

1

1.05

2017

12

11

1

47.1

19

7

3

18

58

1

6

0

0.44

 TOT 22 11   1 60.2 29 12  5 22 68   1  7 2 0.58

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