The College of Wooster baseball team has been off to a pretty hot start this season. As of Mar. 6, the Fighting Scots are 8-4 after 12 games. Since the COVID-19 pandemic cancelled the remainder of their spring season in 2020, the players have been motivated to get back on the field and enjoy playing together again.
As for Jay Dibacco ’21, he has loved being a Fighting Scot on the baseball team. Prior to coming to Wooster, Dibacco was a three-time all-district and four-time all-league Strasburg-Franklin High School. He was on the academic all-state team as a senior and lettered four times in baseball, and three times each in basketball and football.
Most recently, after the Scots’ victory over 25th ranked Denison University on Mar. 27th, Dibacco earned a spot on the D3baseball.com Team of the Week for his two-hit shutout. The Scots defeated the Big Red 14-0 after a solid offensive performance and Dibacco’s shutout. He was announced as this past week’s North Coast Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Week.
COVID has impacted every sports team in many ways. Dibacco described the impact it has had on him and his team. “COVID has had a big impact on our team and how close we have become over the past year. Last year, at the beginning of the pandemic, our season was shut down after only eight games. This year, we knew it could also be shut down at any time so we had to practice every day and play every game like it is our last because we just do not know when that could be. That uncertainty has really brought us together and made us cherish all these times that we have together.”
The Scots possess a strong sense of togetherness on and off the field. Dibacco had been looking forward to getting back on the field for a long time. To be able to perform that well and be playing alongside his teammates again was a special feeling: “After having basically a full season taken away last year, it was amazing to be able to get back on the field and play. Just thinking about how devastating it was when our season was taken away last year makes it feel even sweeter this year now that I am cherishing every moment even more.” He also described the level at which his team has been playing. “Lately, we have been playing good baseball. As long as we can continue to limit errors, throw strikes, and put the ball in play, we are a tough team to beat. However, there is always room for improvement which is why we keep putting in the time and effort every day to continue to push to be the best we can be,” he adds.
Dibacco remarked on his favorite athletic memory while at Wooster these past four years. “My favorite athletic memory at Wooster was during my freshman year. We were able to advance through the Regionals in Adrian, Michigan, and then continue on to the College World Series in Appleton, Wisconsin, as one of the country’s eight best teams,” he said.
Not only does he have many fun memories over the course of his Wooster career, but Dibacco mentioned his favorite team tradition. “One of my favorite traditions as a team is our annual Spring Break trip to Florida to play. Unfortunately, we were unable to make that trip this year due to COVID-19, but usually, it is one of my favorite things to do each year,” said Dibacco.
As a senior, Dibacco recently completed his Independent Study. “My IS was focused on whether specialization in baseball as a youth athlete will have an effect on injuries sustained later in their athletic career. This was a very fun topic to research and focus on and had some really interesting results as well,” Dibacco described. The Scots return to action on Sat. Apr. 10 to face Allegheny in a two-game home doubleheader.