Producing 52 professional baseball players, winning five conference titles and qualifing for the SoCal playoffs in 14 of the past 20 seasons, the Saddleback College baseball team is not shy to success. Therefore, it was no surprise to hear that 15 players from spring 2013 have been recruited to transfer to play at universities around the country.
This is the second highest number of recruits since the program started back in 1969, according to baseball office records.
Lefty pitcher, Eric Diomartich, 19, plans to transfer to Biola. “I am beyond excited (about my transfer to Biola). The wait is officially over — thank The Lord!”
Diomartich has been playing baseball since he was at the t-ball level. He decided on going to Saddleback right after high school in hopes he would get another shot at getting noticed by big universities that will help him get to his ultimate dream; to play in the pros.
“I never took a day off. I worked hard during the season and I was always in camps during the off-season to help me with my game,” Diomartich said.
Aspiring incoming pitcher, Hunter Cullen, 18, took a special interest in Diomartich. “I never got to play with him, but before I decided to play (at Saddleback) I went to some pre-season games and I saw how good Eric is. It’s cool seeing him get wanted by so many great universities. That’s where I hope to be in the next two years,” Cullen said.
Cullen understands the drive to get to where players like Diomartich are, and his future plans are to attend University of California, San Diego and go on to play for the MLB.
Another player from the 2013 season, Sean Nearhoof, 20, received the big envelope from University of Hawaii at Hilo stating that he has the opportunity to further his career in baseball.
As a catcher, Nearhoof understands the meaning of the word “concentration.”
“I found that the trick is to stay focused. College is an insane time but if you stay concentrated on your schoolwork and your game, everything will fall into place, as cliché as that sounds,” Nearhoof said.
Continuing the tradition of producing transfer-ready players, the baseball office released that five players have already committed to playing at the university level after the highly-anticipated 2014 season.
Of these five members, Brandon Cody, 21, signed his national letter of intent to Florida International University last month.
Cody could barely contain his enthusiasm when he has the opportunity to brag about his handwork.
“Staying at Saddleback for a few more years than I anticipated actually paid off… Coach McCartney really helped me in getting my physical and mental strength up to be good enough to play with people at higher schools,” said Cody.
Months before the season even started, the baseball program is already well on its way to beat the record of players transferring to universities.