Rockford Baseball is pleased to announce 2012 class Tony Dileo has officially committed to play baseball at Eastern Michigan University (EMU). Dileo was recruited as a catcher. EMU, coached by Jay Alexander, led all Michigan NCAA Division I universities in victories with 37 in 2011. They swept the University of Michigan, swept Michigan State University, swept Western Michigan University, and split with Central Michigan University. They also beat Clemson, which was ranked fourth in the nation. Dileo has been nothing less than outstanding on the baseball field. In 2010 as a sophomore, Dileo led the Rams in most offensive categories while batting with a team-leading .447 batting average, 17 doubles, four homeruns, and 36 RBIs. In 2010, he was All OK Red Conference, All District, and All Region. In 2011, as a junior, Dileo helped lead the Rams to their second OK Red conference title in three years and their first ever state title. Dileo provided the winning hit in the state finals. His 2011 accolades include Louisville Slugger Preseason High School All American Honorable Mention, All OK Red Conference, All District, All Region, and Second Team All State. Dileo, the brick wall catcher, is regarded as one of the top catchers in the state of Michigan and is also recognized nationally. As impressive as Dileo is on the baseball field, he is evenly as impressive in the classroom. He currently carries a 3.53 grade-point average. In the summer, Dileo plays travel baseball for Rockford Team Ram. Team Ram is coached by Rockford High School Varsity Assistant Coach Steve Fusee. Dileo is the son of Frank and Marjorie Dileo of Rockford.
The Rams did what they have done all year. They used quality pitching, solid defense and clutch hitting to grind out a win against the Temperance Bedford Kicking Mules in the state title game in Battle Creek on June 18. Four of the seven playoff games from districts to the state title game were one-run ballgames, and the Rams came out on top in all of them. They seem to have a “never say die” attitude and someone always steps up to do whatever it takes to get the job done. It was no different Saturday afternoon for the program’s first state title in baseball. Rockford was out-hit by Temperance Bedford (TB) 6-8, but not outplayed. The Rams faced one of the toughest left-handed pitchers in the state in Trent Szkutnik, but took advantage of walks, a hit batter and timely hits to beat him. The game began with TB getting on the board first by scoring a run in the first inning with two base hits. In the bottom of the first, Szkutnik walked the first three Ram batters to load the bases but then got two shallow fly balls and a strikeout to end the threat. Senior left-hander, Joe Kropiewnicki held TB scoreless in the second with a 1-2-3 inning. In the bottom of the second for the Rams, Ian Stankus was hit by a pitch and moved over to second base by an Andrew Rademacher ground ball. Drew Farmer came through with a base hit to score Stankus, putting the Rams on the board. Kropiewnicki threw another scoreless inning in the third, highlighted by Rademacher tracking down a deeply hit fly ball by Mules hitter Jackson Lamb at the warning track. In the Ram half of the inning, shortstop Shain Showers deposited a letter high fastball from Szkutnik far over the left field fence for a solo homerun to put the Rams ahead 2-1. In the fourth inning, the Mules scored one more with two outs in the inning when they had a triple, a walk and a single. That tied the game at 2-2. In the bottom half, the Rams threatened with two outs as well, when Farmer walked and Brandon Nostrant was hit by a pitch, but Szkutnik escaped any […]
The Rams didn’t have anyone get drafted in the MLB draft this year. It’s not that they didn’t have talent—they certainly did. But they didn’t rely on the pitcher who throws 90+ or the hitter who hit 20 homeruns. What they did have was a never-give-up attitude, a mantra of GBED (Get Better Every Day) and inspiration in the form of an 11-year-old boy. Coach’s son, Ian Hearn Jr., had to have two heart surgeries as the Rams prepared to go into the playoffs. It was a source of inspiration as they resolved to win for Ian Junior. And win they did. The Rams worked their way through the districts, regionals, quarterfinals and semifinals until they got to the title game and won the state championship—a first for Rockford baseball. Thankfully, the surgeries for Ian Junior were successful as well. There wasn’t any one player who carried the team on their back. It was a total team effort from day one. The Rams had adversity and distractions along the way, but worked through them like a true family. The guidance and instruction from the coaching staff allowed the team to stay focused and on track to accomplish what had not previously been done at Rockford. In a school the size of Rockford, playing in the tough OK Red conference, it’s hard to believe there would be freshmen mature and talented enough to be part of a state championship-caliber varsity team. Kory Young is one such player. Young could have stayed at the junior varsity level and received more playing time, but chose to stay at varsity and gain valuable experience that will certainly serve him well in the years to come. He batted .333 and was a great utility player when the Rams needed him. He will certainly be one of the bright spots in the future for Ram baseball. Two other freshmen were pulled up for the playoffs: Reid Kelley and Brent Showers. Kelley is a fireballing right-handed pitcher and will likely be a big part of future Ram success. He gained some valuable experience and will no doubt be looked to as a team leader in the years to come. Showers’ situation was a bit different. Tony DiLeo, the junior everyday catcher, was […]
In a match-up between the number two team in the state (Hudsonville) and the number nine team in the state (Rockford), the Rams came out on top. Game one was played in Rockford this past Tuesday, May10, and game two was played at Hudsonville on Thursday, May 12. Rockford then traveled to Okemos for a double header, but only got one game in due to the inclement weather on Friday, May 13. In the first game against Hudsonville, the Rams’ starting pitcher Bryan Baldwin took a no-hitter into the sixth inning. The first two innings, he retired the Eagles in order, faced only four batters in the third and fourth, and then faced five batters in the fifth—all without giving up a hit. Baldwin gave up his first hit in the sixth with two outs, a single to Hudsonville’s Tyler Baar. It was a shutout going into the seventh inning with the Rams up 3-0. Baldwin gave up a leadoff hit and then got two quick ground ball outs. After a second hit and a walk, Coach Ian Hearn made a pitching change, bringing in Shain Showers from shortstop. Showers has done an outstanding job all year, but struggled a bit with the zone, as he walked two batters. Several of the pitches could have gone either way and it would have been a dramatically different outcome. With left-handed hitting Baar coming up again, Hearn made another pitching change, bringing in senior lefty Austin Stephens. As Stephens entered the game, it was Rockford 3 and Hudsonville 2 with the bases loaded. Stephens struck out Baar on three straight pitches to get the save and notch the win for the Rams. Baldwin picked up the win going 6-2/3 innings, while giving up just three hits, two runs, five walks and struck out four. Offensively, the Rams outhit the Eagles by a slim margin (4-3). All three runs came in the third inning when Drew Farmer and Brandon Nostrant were both hit by pitches from Hudsonville’s Baar. Showers then moved them over with a sacrifice bunt and Tony DiLeo followed with a two RBI double. Senior Christian Leinesch then singled and Ian Stankus hit a ground ball to score the third run. Leading the way offensively were […]
Rockford Baseball is pleased to announce that junior catcher Tony Dileo has been recognized as a Preseason Honorable Mention All American Catcher by Louisville Slugger. Dileo, the Rams’ starting catcher as a sophomore in 2010, led almost all offensive categories. He batted .447 with 16 doubles, 36 RBIs, and four homeruns. Dileo was selected to First Team All OK Red, All District, and All Region.