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Dacey powers way to Derby crown

Summer Collegiate : : Story
Hudson Belinsky        
Published: Tuesday, July 30, 2013

NEWARK, N.Y. – Matt Dacey wasn’t originally supposed to participate in this week’s PGCBL All-Star Game festivities, but he was a late addition to the Home Run Derby, and powered his way to a derby victory.

The New Jersey native is a familiar face at PG events; he was a participant in 15 events in his amateur career. Dacey always displayed excellent power, and the power wasn’t contained at the PGCBL Home Run Derby.

Dacey struggled to get a feel for his stroke, recording five consecutive outs to begin his first round.

I got to five outs pretty quick and I knew going in that I needed at least one to make the second round so that was my goal. Once I got a couple outs on the board I was like ‘If I can just get one to make it to the next round my swing is gonna come I know that.’ So that was my strategy going in and then as the rounds went on I found my stroke and the ball started carrying.”

Once Dacey found his stroke, he was in it to win it. He powered three home runs in the final round to take the victory over Buddy Putnam (USF/Glens Falls Golden Eagles), who homered twice in the final round.

Dacey was proudly representing the Albany Dutchmen.

Being asked to do this by the Dutchmen is an honor. Just competing against these guys. Having fun out here hitting the ball as far as we can you know it’s a lot of fun. And watching the big leaguers on TV you don't understand how actually hard it is do that.”

The rising sophomore will take his talents to Richmond next season. Dacey attended Michigan this past season, but he thinks Richmond is a better fit for him.

I thought it was the best scenario for me to leave and pursue a different path at Richmond. I had talked with some of my high school coaches back home and they linked me up with some of the Richmond guys and I have a great opportunity there going next year in the fall.”

Michigan’s a bit tough, the winter’s a bit harsh,” Dacey chuckled, “But I think I’ll be at a pretty good spot in Virginia.”

Although Dacey didn’t see game action at Michigan, he feels that he was able to improve his game dramatically.

In high school you’re just kind of going out there and playing, just putting your skills into the game. But once you reach college you start to realize how much strategy is put into the game and how you think things through—learn from each at-bat, learn from plays in the field, how guys are pitching to you. So I think in the mental game I’ve grown tremendously.”

Playing in the PGCBL has also been huge for Dacey.

I think (the PGCBL has) prepared me really well. Coming up here playing against kids from big time schools—ACC, SEC guys—and seeing the pitching here is great. Kids are throwing 90-plus miles an hour. You really get to see some great competition and fine-tune your game against those guys. And I think I’ll be more than prepared for college next season.”

Dacey’s summer experience has him energized and ready to take on the challenges he will face next season at Richmond.

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