THB Sports Baseball Pitcher of the Year: Shenandoah's Dylan McDaniel

·3 min read

Jun. 9—MIDDLETOWN — Appearances can be deceiving, as any hitter who has faced Shenandoah junior Dylan McDaniel can surely testify.

The 5-foot-7 Raiders southpaw has quickly made believers of any doubters.

McDaniel won six games on the hill for Shenandoah and struck out nearly two batters per inning in helping the Raiders to a 14-win campaign and has earned the nod for the 2022 THB Sports Baseball-Pitcher Athlete of the Year Award.

"It's definitely a big honor," he said, noting the level of local pitching talent. "It surprised me because I know there are a lot of great pitchers in the area. I'm just grateful to be able to say I got it."

McDaniel moved from being primarily used in relief as a sophomore into a new role at the top of the Raiders' rotation, serving as the lefty half of a 1-2 punch with fellow junior Carson Brookbank. This season, he fanned 106 batters in 60 innings — both were tops in the area — over his 13 appearances with a 2.57 ERA.

He said while the success he had out of the bullpen as a sophomore helped with his confidence, his mindset never changed. His goal was to simply get batters out with his arsenal of four-seam and two-seam fastballs and a curveball.

"My mindset was go in there, throw strikes, and get people out," McDaniel said. "For me, it didn't really change because my goal was to let the least amount of people on (base) as possible."

On April 12, McDaniel recorded perhaps his biggest win when Shenandoah hosted Mid-Eastern conference rival and powerhouse Wapahani, which spent most of the season ranked near the top of Class 2A and will play at semistate later this week.

McDaniel yielded an unearned run in the first inning but nothing thereafter. He pitched a complete game allowing six hits, one walk and striking out eight as Shenandoah pulled off the 6-1 upset.

"It was so much fun because there were seniors ahead of me who could never hold a candle to Wap because Wap has always been so good," he said. "Being able to get that win for them and having the coaches start jumping up and down because you beat them, it's an amazing feeling."

McDaniel's love of baseball began very early playing catch with his dad in the back yard, followed by youth baseball and his yearly participation in travel baseball. He cites former Major Leaguer Bartolo Colon as a player he draws inspiration from.

Like McDaniel, Colon did not necessarily have the typical build of an ace pitcher, but he still won 247 games and struck out over 2,500 batters over a 21-year big league career.

"He's not the normal athletic build you see, and I'm not the tallest," McDaniel said. "It's something I can relate to because I'm not the same build as most scouts see. I like him because he still gets the job done."

McDaniel's talents were not limited to what he did on the mound. He also led the area with six home runs while hitting .281 and driving in 18 runs and homered and doubled in a season-ending 4-2 loss to another semistate-bound team in Centerville at sectional.

While he enjoys the sight of a ball he hit flying into the night and over the fence, he much prefers shutting down the opposition.

"That's a lot of fun,", he said. "But coming in and closing down a team like I did against Wap this year, those are some major adrenaline rushes."

Contact Rob Hunt at rob.hunt@heraldbulletin.com or 765-640-4886.