Former Crusader baseball player Landon Dieterich was drafted earlier this year to the World Series Champions, the Washington Nationals. In the history of the UMHB baseball program, only 8 players had been drafted.
Dieterich raised the number to 9.
The road to the majors is very long and full of difficulty, and to do so from Division Three baseball makes the journey all the more difficult. Most college athletes play merely to enjoy the sport they love for four more years, and to develop as a person. Very few actually make it to the next level in any sport.
While Dieterich is only playing currently in a rookie developmental league with the Gulf Coast League (GLC), this is an important step that many great players have had to take. Dieterich already seems to understand the importance and difficulty of where he is at.
“I am absolutely blessed,” Dietrich said. “I realize it is a rare opportunity, and I just hope to make everyone proud.” Dieterich was never alone in his journey towards where he is today. Along the way he had many of his close friends and family to guide him and give him support whenever he needed it. UMHB and its students and faculty were also a big part of his support system.
“UMHB was everything to my baseball career,” Dietrich said. “It made me into the player and person I am. Everyone from coaches to professors. Definitely the best 4 years of my life.”
His years playing for UMHB mean more to him than most people may understand.
“A lot of people do not realize UMHB was my only chance to play baseball,” Dieterich said, “No one else wanted to take a chance on me back then.”
However, his job upon graduation from UMHB was not guaranteed, so going through the drafting process was stressful.
“[The draft] started off super stressful, and the stress just kept growing,” Dietrich said. “After all, this was a lifelong dream. So, eventually, I just had to let it go and trust whatever God had for me.”
Dieterich said that he had so many memorable moments while playing at UMHB he could not pinpoint the most memorable.
“I think we would need a full two-hour podcast to answer this question,” he said. “But if I had to summarize, then I would say bus rides, hotel stays, late nights, early morning, away games, home stands, Friday nights, double-headers, practices, weight room, running for miles, study hall hours, great games, awful games, homers, rollovers, success and failure. Getting to do all of that with your best friends. There was never a dull moment in those 4 years.”
Now Dieterich waits to be able to see the field with his new team. But even as he waits through the present global pandemic, he has been in constant contact with his new team via zoom.
“We talk about workouts, nutrition, and baseball in general,” Dietrich said. So although I am at home, there is no shortage of coaching and direction.”
It is always great for the university when one of their model athletic students is rewarded for their hard work and dedication to Christ by getting to the next level of competition and getting closer to their dreams.
Even though Dieterich will no longer wear the Crusader uniform whenever he walks onto the field, he knows that no matter where he is, he has UMHB cheering for him.