Q&A with Preseason All-State Participant: Aaron Dammel





By Jeff Markle
Assistant State Director

Prep Baseball Report Colorado is getting ready for the start of the high school spring baseball season with the Preseason All State event on February 22nd at Slammers South.  Over the course of the next two weeks we will showcase several of the participants at this year's event.  Continuing our look is Aaron Dammel, No. 19 ranked, 2016, 6-foot-0, 170 pounds, MIF from Highlands Ranch High School. Aaron Dammel also plays for Slammers Baseball.

PBR:  Describe yourself as a baseball player to those who have never seen you play:

Dammel:  I focus on our team goals first, then my own.  I’ve been told I’m pretty easy to get along with but also a quiet leader in the dugout. At the plate, I can take a lot of pitches if I hit early in the lineup so the other guys can see what a pitcher has got.  I do whatever it takes to get on base. I can bat anywhere in the lineup and do what the coaches need me to do.  I’m comfortable with high pressure game situations thanks to being on Varsity since a freshman and on Mark Holzemer’s nationally ranked Slammers travel team where we’ve seen a lot of the nation’s toughest competition.  In the field, I have soft hands and know the situation so we can make the out.  Being the guy who often receives the cutoff throw, I am all about hitting the cutoff guy when I play the outfield.

PBR:  What schools are you looking at, or what would be your dream school to play baseball at?

Dammel:  My dream school would be one where I can play ball, get a great education and make friends that I will know for a really long time.  So, I’m considering everything right now.  For me, location is secondary to the baseball and academic programs. I lived in France as a young kid and went to French public school without knowing a word of French.  It taught me to be flexible, get along with everyone and enjoy exploring new places.

The classic college experience that lets me be a part of the school long after I’ve graduated is important to me. I love the West Coast because I’m from the state of Washington and I have family in Oregon, and California is of course awesome. The weather of the South and the history of the East Coast is also interesting.  We traveled around the Carolinas last summer and the schools there were great. Living here in Colorado has made me appreciate the Mid-West through my club travels for baseball.   Over break we drove through University of Puget Sound and Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, WA. I’ve been invited to visit Georgetown, which will be a great trip as well.

PBR:  What are your best assets on and off the field at this point in your high school career?

Dammel:  I guess what I’m good at can be applied to on and off the field situations. I’m serious about my future and keep working at my goals until I reach them.  I’m organized, methodical, observant and while I try not to judge others, I have for myself a strong sense of right from wrong.  That said, my friends say I have a good sense of humor but that I will not be swayed to doing something I feel is wrong.  I’m good at executing coach directions—especially during games when we need to do something strategic. I like to help out at practices and after games, it’s what my dad taught me to do and to me is just part of being on a team.

PBR:  What does your off-season preparation look like this year compared to your freshman year?

Dammel:  More lifting and no off season for me this year! I’ve been working on arm velocity with Clint Zavaras at Slammers and working out with my HRHS team this fall.  Increased my speed 10 mph from my last public documentation of my fastball, and I’m looking for more.  I’ve added a solid 7 lbs of muscle by revamping my eating before and after workouts.  Then, I threw in skiing with my family during the holidays to get good leg and core work.   We’re back to regular hitting in January. I’ll double up and work out for my Slammers team as well as Ranch to get my bat tuned up to where I want it to be, and get outside for fielding as much as possible.

I also do every day drills in my garage starting in January with my brother who is a freshman at Ranch. That became a habit back when I played for Ray Atkinson’s NW Bandits in Kirkland, WA.  But during Christmas break, I like to take a little time to just not think about baseball.  Everyone needs a break now and again to stay fresh.

PBR:  What is the best baseball advice you have received and try to follow to this point in your career?

Dammel:  One of my little league coaches in Woodinville, WA always used to say, “You can’t bring it if you don’t swing it!”   It’s pretty basic, and makes me think about batting, sure, but also my approach to the game.  You really need to show up and work your hardest every time if you want to get results.  I try to play every game like there is a huge crowd watching.

PBR:  What are your superstitions or routines that go on during a season?

Dammel:  I am very focused on getting to the field early so I can connect with my team and get my head in the game.  I often hit at home first to get my eye keyed in.  If we play multiple games, I make sure I have a PB&J and my seeds ready.  If I’m not hitting as well as I want, I review video of my swing and adjust things in the cage until I figure out how to get to where I want to be.  I always try to get to bed at a decent time—my mom never let us have sleep overs when I was a little kid if it was the night before a game, so I’ve just always made that a rule for myself. 

PBR:  What are your goals for:

This Season:  This season I want to see how my work on arm speed and core will help me at the plate and my speed to first.  Turning faster double plays with my SS Nick Shumpert for HRHS is also a goal.  All of my buddies who I started with on varsity at HRHS will be graduating this year, so I also want to help the new guys who come up feel welcome and have fun.

Two Years:  One goal is to be on a team at college where I get playtime and can continue succeeding at the plate and in the field.  I also want to make sure that I am academically working towards my future by narrowing down exactly what I want to do after baseball.

Four Years:  My last year of college I want to be a leader on the team and make sure I can stay involved with my school as an alumni.  And, I want to figure out how to keep baseball in my life because it has taught me how to handle life.  They always say that baseball is more about losing than winning, but I think it is about learning how to deal with adversity and that can be applied to every part of life.  As kids we can’t always control things in our lives, only how we deal with them.  I think I can help share that through baseball and help kids understand that how they react to a situation is just as important as the actual problem they have to deal with.

 

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