K-State Sports Extra: Dellasega is K-State

by Mark Janssen

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Daniel Dellasega tossed out a teasing hint last spring that this 2010 senior year could be something special.

After hitting a collective .220 in his freshman and sophomore years, the Pittsburg, Kan., native swatted the ball at a .321 clip last year in limited duty while catching behind Rob Vaughn.

Now, as a senior, the 6-foot-1, 205-pound catcher is hitting .329, with a team-high 19 doubles and 43 RBI for the Wildcats heading into the final regular-season series of the year at Texas A&M - 6:35 Friday, 2:05 Saturday and 1:05 Sunday.

"If you draw up a K-State player, Daniel is the picture you would see," said K-State coach Brad Hill. "He's blue collar, a hard worker, dedicated and unselfish. He does whatever it takes to win a game. When you think of a K-State player, Eli Rumler (2004-07) and Daniel Dellesaga come to mind. Both demonstrated a perseverance and commitment to the program through their great character. He's waited five years for this opportunity, so it's hard not to play him in every game."

Dellasega, in fact, has played in 48 of KSU's 50 games, while getting a hit (56 hits in 48 games), and literally taking a hit, so to speak, in every game.

Dellasega plays baseball with a linebacker's mentality whether sacrificing his body in blocking a pitch behind the plate, or, getting a hit by a pitch. Twenty-six times he has been plunked by a pitch this year for a K-State and Big 12 single-season record.

"I was a linebacker in high school," laughed the Pittsburg Colgan High School graduate, who has a KSU record of 41 HBPs for a career. "I just try to play tough."

Laughing, he added, "It does sometimes feel like I'm a magnet and just seem to attract the ball. I don't feel like I crowd the plate too much, I'm just trying to help the team."

Asked if he might at times "try" to get hit by a pitch, Dellesega gave an innocent "Gosh, no," reply. "It's just weird ... hard to explain. I'm not going to get out of the way on an inside pitch, but I don't purposely lean into it."

On his season at the plate, Dellesega says he's not into numbers as much as he is technique and fundamentals.

"I'm more of a process guy instead of an outcome guy," said Dellesega, who has also practically played error-free baseball this season (1 error in 344 chances). "Some guys want to hit .350 with a certain number of doubles, but I'm more about the process and doing things properly and letting the chips fall where they may at the end of the year."

That process, he says, starts in the fall, when as he says, "It's easy to take some time off." Instead, he's working daily at the plate, or behind the plate, or talking with pitching coach Sean McCann on how to better handle pitchers.

"It's an everyday thing," says the Wildcats' everyday catcher.