Collier brings leadership to Chandler baseball squad
April 26, 2019 by Dajour Sylvester, Arizona State University
He was fresh off an incredible championship football season at Chandler High School when Dylan Collier decided to play catch in the front yard with his long-time neighbor.
As they were playing catch, Collier's neighbor noticed how strong of an arm he had. He told Collier, “Dylan if you never quit baseball, you would be a nice closer because your pitch is naturally cut.”
After his neighbor explained to him his potential, he knew from there he was going to try out for the baseball team during his last year at Chandler High.
Collier had not played organized baseball since seventh grade.
“I might as well go out,” Collier said. “What’s the worst that can happen? I haven’t played in five years. If I get cut, then I get cut.”
Collier tried out for the team after winter break and was very vocal by gathering the players together and bringing positive energy. Yet he didn't have the skills to make the team.
A couple of days later, the coaches noticed a lack of leadership on the team. Since Collier possessed leadership qualities, head coach David Lopez brought him back on the team.
“Coach Lopez told me to be the energy source that people can rally around and to provide that energy source to the team,” Collier said.
Since then, the team has cherished Collier’s role on the team.
“Dylan is like a brother to me,” senior pitcher Brent Renteria said. “He’s got a loud voice in the dugout and everyone on the team loves him.”
Collier is passionate about his role on the team. If a player is hitting, he is the first one to be heard from the dugout. He is the first one to speak up if the team feels down. He speaks words of encouragement on the team to get them refocused and back on track.
“Honestly, I do see a change when Dylan is talking. It helps us fight, come back and give us a winning chance,” junior catcher Joseph Dicarlo says.
Although Collier got cut and was welcomed back on the team for leadership purposes, he does not let the criticism get the best of him.
He said that people make jokes about him for not receiving that much playing time. Collier understands that he is here for a bigger purpose.
“I’m not fangirling, but I’m here because they want me to be here with them,” Collier mentioned.
In fact, Dylan has pitched in a couple of scrimmage games. His first couple of pitches were a bit sluggish, but as he threw more outings he became more comfortable.
Dylan also experienced one at-bat during a regular-season game as well. He expected the balls to come at him at a faster rate because he hadn’t seen a live pitch in five years. The pitch was slowed down. He swung because he didn’t want to walk and eventually grounded out to the pitcher.
“When he went into the game, everybody in the dugout was going crazy,” Renteria said. “He has put in a lot of work and we all wanted him to get a base hit.”
Collier is also responsible for keeping score on the iPad. He oversees the game on the iPad by putting in the statistics.
“His teammates respect him and love him as a player and this makes it a unique and special situation for all of us,” assistant coach Ralph Baldenegro said.
When it’s all set and done, Collier plans to move on from baseball.
“There’s that time to hang up the cleats. It’s not for me anymore so I am going to get a job and go to college,” Collier said.