Prep Baseball Report

DeLano Sees Bright Future Ahead At Northern Kentucky

Bruce Hefflinger
PBR Ohio Senior Writer

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DeLano Sees Bright Future Ahead At Northern Kentucky

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Abe DeLano RHP / 1B / Ayersville, OH / 2024

DEFIANCE - A close connection with Northern Kentucky assistant coach Steve Dintaman proved to be vital in Abe DeLano’s college decision.

“I was looking for a place to develop me as a pitcher and move me to the next level,” the 52nd-rated 2024 right-handed pitcher in Ohio explained. “Coach Dintaman is a great guy who I think is one of the best coaches there is when it comes to that. He’s coached some top five draft picks.”

Jack Goonan, a cousin of DeLano, is a former player under Dintaman, the ex-head coach at Sinclair Community College.

“My cousin played for coach Dintaman and I knew from him that he was a great coach,” DeLano reflected. “When I went to the Top Prospect Games I performed well and got in contact with him. He invited me to come down to a camp where I performed well and a couple weeks later they offered. One or two weeks after that I committed.”

Northern Kentucky saw plenty of promise in the 6-3 215-pounder, who also had interest from Findlay, Mercyhurst and Walsh.

“I think they like my competitiveness,” related the Ayersville High School senior. “I’m one of those guys that loves to compete. They heard that from my coaches. With my size they think I can get some quality innings for them.”

Attempting to follow in the footsteps of Goonan has been a long-time objective for DeLano.

“He’s one of my biggest inspirations,” DeLano said of Goonan, who pitched at Virginia Tech and Mercyhurst after Sinclair suspended sports at the school, before moving on to pitch in pro ball. “At the age of seven or eight I knew baseball was the sport for me.

“Looking back, the goal has been to play Division I baseball,” DeLano added. “This past spring I had some real good stats and outings and then I had a phenomenal summer with the RiverBandits. After that I knew I could compete with these guys.”

There was assistance along the way in making that D-I dream become a reality.

“PBR definitely helped out a lot, with Dylan (Hefflinger) getting out to our games and putting a good word out,” DeLano said in reference to the Northwest Ohio scout for PBR. “Coach (Alan) Maag (Ayersville High School) and coach (Chad) Donsbach (Napoleon RiverBandits Legion) and Dylan, those guys were huge in knowing coaches, having support and being there for me with everything.

“My parents have helped a lot as well. No matter what I chose, they were going to support me. My cousin and neighbor Jack Goonan also helped get my name out there.”

Admittedly, being a college recruit is not always easy.

“The whole process you can’t let get you down,” DeLano explained. “It’s hard to tell if a coach really likes you or not when you go there. But once it’s over you feel a lot better.”

An improved game proved important in the baseball journey being able to continue on in college for the 120th-ranked senior in the state.

“My competitiveness has gotten better,” DeLano related. “I’ve been working a lot with my curveball and that’s improved a lot. I got the grip from (Ayersville teammate Blake) Hauenstein (now pitching at Findlay) and my vertical is 17.4 inches, at the top of leaderboards and I can throw it for strikes. My velo has also improved. I think with a pitching coach at college and with my size there is a lot more in me.”

The bright future has DeLano holding high expectations about what he can bring to the Horizon League program in Highland Heights, Ky.

“I want to get some quality innings to start off and gain velo,” DeLano said. “I’m excited to go there and play some of the big teams on the schedule like Mississippi State.”

Once a commitment was made, DeLano was already looking ahead.

“It was a huge weight off the shoulders,” DeLano reflected. “It’s cool to say you're a D-I pitcher, but at the end of the day you still have to perform this spring and in the summer.”

After that, it’s on to NKU for DeLano, who plans to major in either education or sport management.

“I’m excited to go there, get a degree and hopefully move on to the next level in baseball,” DeLano concluded. “If baseball doesn’t work out I can follow my plans with my degree.”

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