Dutchtown’s Day finds right fit at Southern Miss

Peter Silas Pasqua
Dutchtown senior pitcher/outfielder Dillon Day signs with the University of Southern Mississippi Thursday afternoon. With Day from left are Julia Day, Shantay Day, Devin Day and Greg Day.

GEISMAR - Dutchtown senior Dillon Day has many roles. The defensive outfielder,  who turned into the ace of the Griffins staff after coming out of the bullpen is now a college-bound prospect.

“Dillon is great athlete,” Dutchtown head coach Chris Schexnaydre said. “He has some gifted talents and if he is given the opportunity, he will be a kid that makes the most of it. He has a great outfield arm and can run them down. He has good speed and a little pop in his bat. Plus, he can throw on the mound for them.”

Day signed with the University of Southern Mississippi Thursday afternoon at a ceremony in the Dutchtown gym.

“The atmosphere of the school is great,” Day said. “I went up there for a football game  and I liked everything. It was real nice.

“I was fortunate to get my name out there through Coach Schexnaydre and playing summer ball. It is a dream come true. I have been playing baseball since I was in diapers. To be able to sign a scholarship to keep playing is great. Everybody has helped me out - my dad and all my coaches. It feels good to sign early and get it over with. It relieves stress and allows me to concentrate on my senior year.”

As a junior, Day hit .337 with six home runs and 22 runs batted in. On the mound he compiled a 5-4 record with a 2.98 earned run average and 79 strikeouts in 52 innings pitched earning first-team all-district honors.

“He threw almost every big game for us,” Schexnaydre said. “He was on the unfortunate end of some of our losses but we sent him out there any time it was  big game and he came through for us at the plate and on the mound.”

Day is a 6-foot-1 left handed pitcher who will also get a chance to play in the outfield.

"Dillon should be a player that can help us early either as an outfielder or left-handed pitcher," Southern Mississippi head coach Corky Palmer said. "He has three good pitches as a high school player and throws in the mid-80's. He will benefit from playing good competition in his area of high school baseball."

Schexnaydre believes Day will be a good fit for Southern Mississippi.

“I know the coaches over there,” Schexnaydre said. “All three have had success in the past and they have success at Southern Miss now. I see bright things in their future. This is a great opportunity to sign early. A lot of kids don’t get that opportunity. Now that this is over he can go out in his senior year, relax and have fun.”

Day carries a 3.0 grade point average and already meets the NCAA's academic requirements. He plans to become a teacher-coach.

Day fondly remembers the Griffins roller coaster season a year ago.

“The district was crazy,” Day said. “It was amazing. There were games that we were down an came back and won. It felt good. Catholic was a hear breaker when we lost in the playoffs. That killed us.”

Day visited UL-Monroe, Southeastern Louisiana and the University of New Orleans but said Southern Mississippi’s winning tradition was the biggest draw.

“They have had winning records every year so I look forward to them keep on doing the same thing,” Day said. "I wanted to go to a place where I think I'll have a chance to go to the College World Series someday and I think it will happen there."

“It is a new atmosphere. It will be like starting with a new clean slate. Nobody knows me over there.”

But before that Day wants one more shot to be on the mound this year for Dutchtown.

“I want a ring,” Day said. “I have been working for that since my freshmen year. We have a lot of guys coming back and we are going to be good.”