Former Coach Sees a Familiar DeLucia in Omaha
OMAHA, Neb. – When Dylan DeLucia arrived on the Ole Miss campus, it is likely the Rebels’ coaching staff did not quite know what they were getting.
DeLucia’s former coach knew exactly what the Rebels had.
The Port Orange, Fla., native arrived in Oxford after playing two seasons at Northwest Florida State Community College. His coach with the Raiders, Doug Martin, who has been the head coach there for 13 seasons, knew all his former pitcher needed was an opportunity to impress coach Mike Bianco and his staff.
“I knew given the chance, regardless of how many Perfect Game All-Americans they had, he would compete. They (Ole Miss) got off to a great start, but then hit a rough spell and decided to insert him in the rotation and I guess like they say the rest is history.”
Coach Doug Martin on Dylan DeLucia
While DeLucia might not have made the most remarkable first impression at the Niceville, Fla., community college, he soon showed his stuff.
“We got him at Christmas break, and it worked out pretty good for us. The first few days, he was not that impressive because he was not the best practice player,” Martin said.
“But once he got between the lines and the ump yelled, ‘play ball,’ we knew we had something.”
Coach Martin on Dylan DeLucia
His first year at Northwest Florida State, DeLucia posted a minute 0.67 ERA and averaged 9.9 strikeouts per game in limited work.
DeLucia’s sophomore year is when he burst upon the scene. Earning All-Panhandle Conference honors and being selected second-team all-state, he went 9-2 and struck out 12.31 batters per game.
“He had a good feel for pitching out of high school, but was not overpowering,” Martin said. “He had learned to pitch and then the velocity came.”
DeLucia is not the only former Raider on the Ole Miss roster. Sophomore Reagan Burford also played at Northwest Florida State.
Martin knew DeLucia’s ability to pitch, but was not sure how he would fare at Ole Miss.
“I mean it’s the SEC, the best of the best. I knew they (Ole Miss) were loaded with guys, but I knew he would compete.”
Compete he has. DeLucia has become the ace of the Rebels’ staff striking out 105 batters in 95.1 innings.
Arguably one of his best games was the one that put Ole Miss in the championship round. DeLucia fanned seven and gave up just four hits in a complete-game shutout of Arkansas.
— The Rebel Walk (@TheRebelWalk) June 23, 2022
Unfortunately, having to pitch that game will prevent DeLucia from starting the first game of the championship series Saturday. But if the need arises for him to throw in Sunday’s game, Martin has no reservations DeLucia will want the ball.
“He will be ready to roll,” Martin said. “I saw him on TV the other day and he said, ‘I came here to pitch.’”
Just like he did for Martin at Northwest Florida State.
The Rebels will face Oklahoma in the championship series beginning Saturday at 6:00 p.m. CT. The game will air on ESPN.
(Feature image credit: Josh McCoy, Ole Miss)
Steve Barnes joins The Rebel Walk staff as a senior writer and brings a trifecta of journalistic experience. As a writer, he has covered college sports for Rivals.com, Football.com and SaturdayDownSouth.com as well as served as a beat writer for various traditional newspapers.
He has been a broadcaster for arena football and several national tournament events for the National Junior College Athletic Association as well as hosting various shows on radio.
A former sports information director at Albany (Ga.) State University and an assistant at Troy and West Florida, he has helped host many NCAA conference, regional and national events, including serving five years on the media committee of the NCAA Division II World Series.
Barnes, a native of Pensacola, Fla., attended Ole Miss in 1983-84, where his first journalism teacher was David Kellum. The duo has come a long way since that time.
He will bring a proven journalistic track record, along with a knack for finding the out-of-the-ordinary story angles to The Rebel Walk.
Barnes continues to reside in Pensacola a mere ten minutes from the beach because he does have taste and a brain.