Ga. – The Diamond Devils 17u Black (6-1) saw its six-game
undefeated steak end as it lost 9-2 to Bandits Baseball (3-4) in a
Wednesday afternoon Pool D matchup at the 2012 WWBA 17u National
with the Diamond Devils at 2-2 heading into the bottom of the sixth,
the Bandits plated six runs to break open the game, keyed by a
bases-loaded walk and two run-scoring base hits.
spite of the loss, the Diamond Devils entered the day having already
clinched a spot in the tournament’s playoffs by virtue of winning
Diamond Devils’ typical starting catcher, Nick Ciuffo (2013,
Lexington H.S., S.C.), took a day off from catching and instead held
down the third spot in the batting lineup as a designated hitter.
who committed to University of South Carolina as a freshman at Wando
High School in Dec. 2009, drove in the game’s first run in the
opening frame with a RBI groundout to second base. He even stole
second base in the fourth.
think that was my second career stolen base,” said Cuiffo after the
game. “I’m not really a speed demon.”
a member of the Diamond Devils program since the summer of 2009,
hails from Charleston, S.C., where the organization’s base of
operations is located.
you look back at the alumni who have come through this
program...it’s, in my opinion, by far the best travel team in South
Carolina and one of the best in the country,” said Perfect Game’s
number 14-ranked prospect in the high school class of 2013. “And
the coaching’s great. There’s four-five coaches on each team, and
you get specific teaching with everything you do.”
six-foot-one, 195-pound backstop attended Wando High School in Mount
Pleasant, S.C., for his freshman and sophomore years before
transferring to Lexington High School for this past season. While at
Wando, he pledged to South Carolina before ever appearing in a high
feel like it’s the best program in college baseball right now,”
said Ciuffo, who also strongly considered Auburn University. “The
program there is just awesome.”
to Perfect Game’s preseason 2012 Underclass First Team, Ciuffo said
his summer has been jam-packed to say the least.
guess it started a week after school got out at the end of May,”
said Cuiffo of his travel ball season. “I played a couple of
weekends with the Daimond Devils and then I was off to the Metrodome
for the Perfect Game National Showcase.”
in Minneapolis, Minn., in June, Ciuffo stood out defensively,
recording a 1.83-second pop time and firing an 82-mph throw down to
second in drills.
Game National was definitely one of my favorite things that I’ve
done,” Ciuffo said. “And then I went to the USA Baseball
Tournament of Stars in North Carolina, and got selected for the
40-man trials team. Then when I returned to South Carolina, I was
home for about three days and then I came to Georgia.”
Rhodes, the Diamonds Devils’ founder and president in addition to
the head coach of the Diamond Devils 17u Black, was quick and to the
point when asked about Ciuffo.
catcher. Good arm,” said Rhodes after the Diamond Devils’ loss.
“He understands the game. Swings the bat pretty well too.”
Diamond Devils catcher sounded optimistic about the team’s chances
heading into bracket play on Wednesday night.
know there’s teams here that have eight or nine SEC or ACC
commitments or the six-foot-two, 215-pound guys who are going to hit
the ball 500 feet,” Ciuffo explained. “But we’ve got a real
good nucleus I guess you could say.
a team. We play together and hang out all the time. And I feel like
that’s what’s going to help us to be successful. We’re a team
that’s here to win the whole thing.”
asked about his goals for between now and June 2013, Ciuffo made it
very clear what he will be shooting for.
to get better every day. That’s all you can really ask for,”
Ciuffo said. “I’d like to put myself in a situation where I’ve
gotten good enough to say I can be a first round draft pick. I feel
like that’s everybody’s goal.”