Florida State center fielder Ben DeLuzio has had a very rough year. He’s hitting just .235 on the season and spent most of the season under the .200 mark. However, over the last 20 games of the season DeLuzio has started becoming what the Seminole coaches hoped he would be this season.
Prior to the April 18 game against Pittsburg DeLuzio had just 14 hits in 88 at bats. Since then he is hitting .338 with 22 hits, 16 RBIs, and has a .507 on base percentage. DeLuzio thought he had been seeing the ball well all season, but just couldn’t find the right swing.
“I honestly thought I have been seeing the ball well the entire season,” DeLuzio said. “It's just if you have one kink in your swing, there's no room for error. There's been one thing wrong the entire way. We've just been trying to figure that out. And I feel like we finally figured it out at the right time, honestly.”
Second baseman John Sansone said he’s seen DeLuzio put in the work to get back on track, and it was just a matter of time.
“I’ve been hitting with him almost every day,” Sansone said. “Me, him, and my dad will go hit and he’s been really working with Meat in the cage. He’s always working trying to get better. I knew it was coming. It was just a matter of time.”
The light bulb really clicked on over the last three games of the ACC Tournament where DeLuzio went 8-12 with 5 RBIs and 3 stolen bases. He was a big part of the team’s success in winning the ACC Championship and he was extremely happy that he could come through for them.
“It was a huge burden off my shoulder,” DeLuzio said. “It was an awesome feeling to know you're doing everything right at the end of the season to help your team win. Making solid contact -- it's just a totally different feeling than what I had at the beginning of the season. Once you get in the postseason, it's basically a new season.”
With DeLuzio starting to get on base more it brings in a whole new dimension to the Florida State offense according to hitting coach Mike Martin Jr.
“The guys feed off of it,” Martin said. “They start chanting, 'You threw a double.' If they walk him or if he gets a base hit or whatever. Because there's a real good chance he's going to be at second base. And if he gets to second, there's always the threat of stealing third.”
Sansone knows how hard it is playing against someone like that from when he went up against DeLuzio in fall practice.
““You see them try to rush the pitch to home or throw over a few times,” Sansone said. “Even the catcher you can tell that they’re trying to flutter with the ball a little bit with their glove. Everyone’s a little bit jittery. I know when I was on the inter-squad in the fall I got a little bit jittery at second.”
This is still a very good baseball team even when DeLuzio was struggling, but with him getting hot at the right time, they’re downright dangerous.