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Sabers' sophomore named to All-Suburban baseball team

Dirienzo's season among Franklin's best

Aug. 11, 2009

Franklin's baseball history is a storied one. The program has made seven state tournament appearances and, over the last two decades, 22 different players have accounted for 29 selections to the NOW All-Suburban Team.

 

But the latest player named to the NOW team - 2009 selection Jay Dirienzo, a sophomore outfielder - could some day be considered the best of the Sabers' best.

A 'pure' hitter

This summer, Dirienzo tied a school record in hits and broke the school record for doubles. Not bad for a player in his first year on the varsity.

"He's one of the best pure hitters we've had at Franklin in a long time," Franklin coach Jim Hughes said.

Dirienzo's 54 hits tied Steve Grzeszkiewicz's mark set in 1992, the year Grzeszkiewicz was named to his third NOW team and won the player of the year award. Both players reached their mark in 39 games. Of Dirienzo's 54 hits, 21 were doubles, breaking Ryan Mentkowski's record of 19 in 1999.

"Those are two pretty good players to be mentioned with," Hughes said.

Dirienzo, a left-handed hitting right fielder who played third base on the junior varsity as a freshman, hit .400 during the regular season, including .438 in the Greater Metro Conference. He earned first-team all-GMC honors.

He finished the season with a team-high 39 runs and had a double in five straight postseason games as the Sabers reached the state semifinals.

"He hits the ball well to left-center," Hughes said. "He drives the ball there. He doesn't just hit it. If they pitch him away, he hits it away. That's what makes him such a good hitter right now."

Varsity transition no problem

Dirienzo said the transition from the junior varsity to the varsity was one he made with relative ease.

"I've been putting up some numbers like that the last couple years," Dirienzo said. "The pitching was a little different, but I adjusted as the year went on. I was used to seeing a lot of the faster pitching at some of the tournaments I travel to. I was already adapted to it."

Love of baseball

Dirienzo, along with sophomore teammate Trevor Theissen, were selected for a U16 team comprised top players from the Midwest that played a tournament in Florida this month. On Wednesday and Thursday, he participated in a baseball showcase for college and professional scouts in North Carolina.

"He really loves baseball," Hughes said. "I think eventually he'd like to play college baseball."

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