06/19/2016 11:06 PM -
Whiting, Ind. – June 19, 2016 – When Craig Dedelow walked on to Indiana University’s campus for his freshman season, he didn’t even have a guaranteed spot on the Hoosiers’ roster.
Three years later, the former Northwest Indiana Oilmen outfielder has become an opposing pitcher’s nightmare in the Big Ten with a career .303 average.
The Munster High School graduate achieved the ultimate dream of any baseball player last week, when he was selected in the 34th round of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
“I was just sitting at home with my family,” Dedelow said. “It was a stressful Saturday. I didn’t know if it was going to happen. I was following all the names on MLB.com, and was getting discouraged a little, but finally I got a phone call and it happened really fast.”
Now, Dedelow has until July 15 to determine whether he wants to sign with the Pirates or return for his senior season at Indiana. First, he’ll take some time to enjoy this significant checkpoint in his baseball career.
“My first feeling was a sigh of relief,” he said. “I actually did it. After that, I was like, ‘Wow, I was just drafted,’ and that’s when the excitement started to set in. It’s really satisfying. It’s every kid’s dream who grows up and plays baseball that one day they get drafted and someday make it to the major leagues. I’ve got through the first step; now it’s the next step.”
Where exactly that next step will take Dedelow remains to be seen. He said he has not reached a decision on whether or not he will sign with the Pirates.
“I’m not too sure at the moment,” Dedelow said. “I’ve been talking to my coaches at Indiana and the people with the Pirates. The big thing is talking to my family to see what’s best for me and what’s best for them and going from there.”
Dedelow originally entered Indiana as a walk-on on a fall tryout basis. Fast-forward to 2015, and he led the Hoosiers in batting average at .325 as a sophomore. This season, Dedelow again paced Indiana in hitting at .302 while starting all 56 games.
“Being a walk-on and then leading the team in hitting took a lot of hard work,” he said. “I have an ability to persevere and stay consistent. I put a lot of dedication into it. I have a short memory and go pitch-by-pitch.”
Dedelow led the Oilmen in batting average in 2014 at .319 and RBIs with 24.
“He was a guy who had a really good attitude and a really good work ethic,” current Oilmen manager and 2014 assistant coach Adam Enright said. “He worked really hard, but didn’t take bad at-bats into the next at-bat or on defense. He was really good in the outfield, even if he didn’t have any hits that day. He was a guy with really good tools.”
When Dedelow’s name appeared on the draft tracker, he became the first former Oilmen player in club history to be drafted.
“I remember it being a nice facility and nice everything,” Dedelow said when asked about his experience with the Oilmen. “The people and the management really tried to do all they could for the players and the coaching staff was all about getting us better.”
Although Dedelow has one major goal down, there’s still plenty left to be accomplished for the 2014 Midwest Collegiate League All-Star. Wherever his decision takes him, the story of Dedelow’s baseball career is one with more chapters left to be written.