SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Sports

April 19, 2014

Jean DePlacido column: DiFranco flourishes in new role at Bates

(Continued)

“Some of my Prep teammates like Tyler Noe, Dusty Hunt, and Mike Driscoll will be on the Navs, and a lot of the guys on the Bates team will play in the league. I’ll be home on May 26 and tryouts are a few days later.”

DiFranco said his arm angle has changed from when he pitched for the Eagles, and he believes that has raised his strikeout total.

“I’m kind of like a sidearm pitcher now,” said DiFranco. “My arm angle has dipped down, and when I throw the two-seamer inside guys are swinging and missing. I like to mix it up with a two-seamer outside to lefties. I’ve always had natural movement on the ball, but I’m not one of the guys that is going to blow you away with speed. I like to attack the batters.

“A couple of weeks ago the coach said he wanted me to be the first guy out of the pen if the starter is having trouble. I can go two or three innings, try to silence any momentum.”

DiFranco rooms with former Peabody track star T.J. D’Amato. They didn’t know each other before coming to Bates but are now best friends.

DiFranco’s goal is to help the Bobcats (now 11-10 after beating Plymouth State Thursday) make the playoffs. He said the team has both talent and great chemistry to do it.

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Sean Stellato, a National Football League Players Association player agent and contract advisor who starred for Salem High and Marist College football, will host an NFL 2014 Draft Day Party on Thursday, May 8 at the Kowloon in Saugus (6:30 p.m.) Special guests include New England Patriot Joe Vellano and former Patriots tight end Jermaine Wiggins, who is now a 98.5 Sports Hub radio personality. It is a benefit for former Prep player Jared Coppola, who was seriously injured in a scrimmage before his junior year in high school and is now at the University of New Hampshire.

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