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North Fort Myers 8U Babe Ruth player among state’s best

By CHUCK BALLARO - | Sep 14, 2021

Nolan Dewald

When you watch Nolan Dewald play baseball for the North Fort Myers Babe Ruth team, you can see he is a little bit more polished and developed than many of the kids. He can pitch and catch, and automatically knows where he has to be on certain plays.

Well, recently, the now 9-year-old was named a member of the USAAA 8U Team Florida squad, an honor only 11 other kids in the state earned.

Dewald will go play against other all-state teams from Georgia and the Carolinas early next year in a tournament, assuming they can play because of COVID-19.

“I was very excited. I really didn’t expect it. I like to play baseball and travel,” Dewald said.

Dewald qualified when he went to a local showcase, where scouts and evaluators watched him perform.

“We thought he had a chance, but we knew we were going up against some really good players from all over the state,” said Danny Dewald, his father and coach. “It was exciting just to go, but for him to make the team was very special.”

Dewald played four games over a weekend as a pitcher and catcher, his two main positions, and did very well. He caught well, called many of his own pitches and was lights out on the mound. In three innings pitched, he struck out six, with no walks, no runs and only one hit.

“There wasn’t much coaching, so the kids were allowed to do their own thing. He pitched better than I’ve ever seen him. He mixed his fastball and changeup well,” Danny said.

Not bad for someone who was playing his first season of organized ball. Dewald had worked with his father in the yard on the fundamentals when they lived in Pennsylvania.

When he came to Babe Ruth in the fall after moving to Lehigh Acres, he made the team as a shortstop before the coaches realized he had a good glove and could throw a bit, which made him a pitcher and catcher. He returned to shortstop for the 8U All-Stars.

“I like catching the most because you’re in all the action and you’re one of the leaders,” Dewald said. “Sometimes I’m allowed the call pitches, but the coach does as well.”

Dewald is used to playing outside his age class. He made the 10U Fall North Nation Alpha Advance team, like he did this past season in spring ball.

Mike Tamulionis, coach of the U10 advance travel ball team, said Nolan is a great kid and one of the hardest workers he has.

“He loves the game and shows a lot by the way he practices and plays. He plays exceptionally hard,” Tamulionis said. “He has a great baseball IQ, his mechanics are excellent and is an all-around good ballplayer. He’s going to be really good.”

Danny said he doesn’t want to burn his son out on baseball, since here in Florida they can play all year round. He said he wants to get him into flag football and experiment with other sports and let him be a kid.