FORT MYERS, Fla. – The DiNatale family from Parkland, Fla.,
has been a member of the Perfect Game family for almost a decade.
Dave and Dalton DiNatale, the sons of David and Debbie
DiNatale, have been participating in Perfect Game events since Dave attended
the World Underclass Showcase in 2003 as a 15-year-old.
Dalton DiNatale, a junior corner infielder and outfielder at
Calvary Christian Academy in Parkland who is ranked No. 90 nationally and No.
20 in Florida (class of 2012) by Perfect Game, was at Terry Park Saturday and
Sunday, Jan. 8-9 for the Perfect Game World Showcase, his eighth PG event since
“It’s a different experience every time,” Dalton said over
the weekend. “Sometimes you’ll play your best and have a great time and other
times you won’t perform your best, but it’s always a great experience.”
Dave DiNatale, who is six years older than Dalton, was
drafted out of high school in the 22nd round of the 2005 MLB June
Amateur Draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates, played at the University of Miami for
three years, and then was taken in the
29th round by the Rockies in 2009. He’s played two seasons of minor
league ball in the Rockies’ organization.
David was a regular at Perfect Game events from 2003 through
“It’s been a great experience just watching my brother play
and seeing all the joys he’s gone through and all the tough times he’s faced,
and I’ve been able to learn a lot from his mistakes and his successes,” Dalton
said. “And it’s just been a great experience playing baseball.”
You hear a lot of that sort of thing at Perfect Game events,
especially from players and their parents who have made traveling
coast-to-coast a major part of their lives while dreams of playing collegiate
baseball and ultimately professional baseball are realized.
“It’s been a tremendous blessing,” David DiNatale said of
his family’s involvement with Perfect Game through the years. “Dave was at the
World Showcase when he was a junior and again as a senior, and if you go back
to the ’04 and ’05 showcases, that’s a Who’s Who.”
While Dave DiNatale was developing into one of PG’s top
prospects in the class of 2005, his little brother Dalton was busy making his
own memories that summer, memories shared by three other young players who are also
at Terry Park for the 2011 World Showcase.
It was in 2005 that Dalton DiNatale, Julius Gaines, Michael
Gill and Skyler Ewing were on their way to winning the National American
Tournament of Champions at Dreams Park in Cooperstown, N.Y., while members of
the Boys of Baseball National Travel Team.
Delino DeShields Jr. was also a member of that team. He was
a 1st round selection of the Houston Astros in the 2010 Draft.
“(Dalton) just had such a great time, and all the kids on
the team – even though they didn’t know each other – they just seemed to all
connect,” David said. “(All the parents) were rooting for each other’s child
and they just kept winning.”
The tournament was for 11-and 12-year-olds, so the boys were
still a few years removed from participating in the their first Perfect Game
event. They have now participated in nearly 50 PG events between them since
Gaines (2011, Locust Grove, Ga.) has developed into a
standout shortstop who Perfect Game has ranked No. 16 nationally and No. 1 in
Georgia in his class. He has committed to Florida International University.
Ewing (2011, Arlington, Texas) is a catcher ranked 187-20, and Gill (2011,
Flower Mound, Texas) is an outfielder ranked 343-30.
All of these players and their families have spent countless
hours on the road. It comes with the territory and it comes with no complaints.
“When you’re a baseball parent, your whole life really
revolves around the tournaments, primarily the Perfect Game tournaments and
showcases,” David DiNatale said. “All of our vacations are pretty much wrapped
As an example, he noted that last summer Dalton particpated
in a PG event in San Diego, had a tryout for USA Baseball elsewhere in
California and also played part of the
summer with Southern California-based ADB Bulldogs travel team. Needless
to say, the family vacation was spent in California.
“It’s really cool because you meet a lot of friends and they
stay your friends all the way up through,” Debbie DiNatale said of the PG
experience. “The nice thing about doing
it the second time, too, is you get to see the joys you experienced the first
time around. You get to do that again wiith your second son.”
The kids just like playing baseball against other kids their
age with similar experiences and talent levels.
“It’s good to gauge yourself against the top
kids from around the country just to see where you’re at,” Dallton said. “It’s
fun to just go out there and play good baseball.”