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Dumont’s Steven DiGirolamo continues family tradition at William Paterson

When he was younger, Steve DiGirolamo enjoyed playing basketball, but baseball remained his favorite sport. Playing with kids who were between the ages of five and seven years old, DiGirolamo said it was just a bunch of friends playing together and working to get better before and after baseball practice.

“My parents’ supported me through everything whether driving me to practice and dad pitching to me in the backyard and always coming out to games,” said DiGirolamo. “My dad came from a baseball family.”

While attending Dumont High School, DiGirolamo not only excelled on the baseball diamond but in the classroom. In his senior year, DiGirolamo batted .517 with 28 RBI, 10 doubles and 26 runs scored that earned him first-team All-North Jersey, all-county and all-league honors.

DiGirolamo flourished in soccer and bowling as well named a four-year letter letterwinner in soccer, named to the second-team all-league laurels twice and one varsity letter in bowling garnering first-time all-league status. Academically, DiGirolamo was named to the Honor Roll and a National Honor Society member.

“Playing multi-sports are something I encourage kids to do because you meet a lot of different people and learn new things,” DiGirolamo said. “Coach (Jason) Cannici is a great coach that has a winning record every year and knows what he is doing because he played college baseball. Academics are very important because the one day you will have to hang up the cleats and I take a lot of pride in.”

Making the decision to attend William Paterson University turned out to be a no-brainer for DiGirolamo his sister Keri graduating in 2015 and uncle John a member of the 1992 national championship team. In his freshman year on the baseball team, DiGirolamo started all 39 games for the Pioneers, hitting .331 with one home run and 17 RBI while leading the club in hits with 53 including 15 for extra bases.

Playing centerfield, DiGirolamo sparkled becoming just one of two outfielders in the NJAC (New Jersey Athletic Conference) with a 1.000 fielding percentage and more than 100 putouts. This season DiGirolamo increased his numbers significantly starting with his durability being the only on the team playing in all 40 games, batting .417 with 27 RBI, 73 hits, 45 runs scored, .469 on-base percentage, .577 slugging percentage, 15 stolen bases and for a second consecutive year achieving a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage with 116 putouts that earned him All NJAC Firs-Team honors.

“A big difference between my freshman and sophomore years as the confidence,” said DiGirolamo. “Last year playing as a freshman my confidence was not where it needed to be but the team was always helping me. One of the biggest things going into this season was not striking out. Last year I struggled with that and when I had my exit meeting with Coach (Mike) Lauterhahn he said if you cut down on your strikeouts you are going to get more hits because you are putting the ball in play and pressure on the defense.”

“In the off-season I played summer ball and took pride in cutting down the strikeouts and making sure the pitcher doesn’t beat me. The most important aspect is I have been  quick my whole life, my Mom was a track start in high school as well as my brother and sister so I have some good sports genes. Using speed on the bases to put pressure on the defense, if the pitcher thinks I’m going to steal it might give the hitter more fastballs so it’s just not me getting in scoring position but helping the batter out at the plate.”

“Playing centerfield I go to practice every day, working on reads and taking live action off the bat. Working on jumps and taking a lot of pride in my defense are a very important part of the game. I love watching the major leaguers, making outstanding plays that motivate me and Mike Trout a fan favorite putting his body on the line as well as Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr.”

This year, William Paterson finished with a 25-15 record and 10-8 in the NJAC. “Last year we had a ton of freshman come in and play a lot of innings and grow over the course of the season, DiGirolamo said. It was just not that class but the entire team and we love hanging out and practicing together and going out to eat.”

“It’s always a good feeling having the fans come out and support the team and family, friends and alumni coming back. My uncle was a part of the 1992 national championship team and I know a bunch of people on the team who come back and say hello that is very motivating for us to see these people have such a connection with William Paterson.”

“Coach Lauterhahn is a great coach on and off the field. At practice he is always motivating us to get better and prepared for a game. Off the field if you need to talk to him anything, very supportive when it comes to academics and scheduling things for you.”

Academically DiGirolamo has not dropped off at all named to the Dean’s List in his freshman year and in the Fall of 2018 while majoring in finance. “It all comes down to time management and I’m here to get my degree,” said DiGirolamo. “I’m putting in a lot of time into athletics as well as academics.”

However, what DiGirolamo savors the most is going back to his hometown of Dumont and catching a high school baseball game where there will be family, friends and alumni. “We’re not a big town so everyone knows each other from little league to senior ball and in high school.”

On his message to younger kids and athletes DiGirolamo said, “Have fun and don’t take things for granted because one day it will end so enjoy it while it lasts.”

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Sunil Sunder Raj

Since July of 2014 Sunil Sunder Raj has been with In The Zone. Sunil has experience covering minor league baseball, high school and college sports. A beat writer for the Rockland Boulders for six years, Ramapo College men’s basketball for four years, NJIT men’s basketball and Seton Hall women’s basketball. Now focusing on feature articles about athletes, coaches and sports media professionals. A graduate of Ramapo College of New Jersey with a bachelor of arts degree in journalism.
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