MODESTO — For Dylan Werner, it hasn't been easy.
It started back at Denair High, where he said he was part of a talented roster that never made the playoffs during his three years of playing. And the Coyotes did have legendary Ron Cornell, the retired coach whose name is now synonymous with the school's baseball field.
“We had a disappointing year, considering the talent we had on the team,” Werner said about his last season in 2009. “We should have done better than we did.”
Despite it all, Werner remained focused.
Now, he's one of the main pitchers for the 16-to-18-year-old Modesto Babe Ruth team that is aiming once again to make a trip to the World Series. His journey continues today, as he's set to start in the Central California State Tournament opener against Delano at 8 p.m. at Davis Park.
The tourney winner will move on to the Pacific Southwest Regional in Watsonville to play for a spot in the World Series.
“It's his turn,” said Coach Bobby Swedberg, who moonlights as Pitman High's junior varsity baseball coach. Werner is a third-year member, meaning he played on the Babe Ruth team that reached the World Series in 2008. It also means he knows what it takes to get there.
Just look at his past.
Again, he was part of a talented Denair team. But the Coyotes missed the playoffs the three years he was there, leaving him feeling unaccomplished after high school. But his talent was undeniable: Babe Ruth teammate and Waterford High graduate C.J. DeDeaux said Werner “stood out” in Southern League competition.
Werner then went on to Modesto Junior College, where he worked out harder and became more serious about baseball. His dedication is evident in Babe Ruth games. His teammates have faith in him, so does his coach (who welcomes Jake Sisco, a Davis High graduate who was a late selection in this summer's MLB Draft). Werner is not known as a fast, strong pitcher. Instead, he's known as a smart right-hander, one who likes to make the batter guess on every pitch.
“If he's on the mound and it's the last out,” DeDeaux said, confidently, “I wouldn't worry. I always have confidence in him.”
So, it's been a long journey for Werner, but he has enjoyed it.
“I'm trying to get better every single day,” he said.
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