By: Matt Betts
Canadian Baseball Network
Zach Diewert will take the next step in his baseball career in the fall of 2017.
Eight players from Polk State Community College recently signed their letters of intent. For Diewert, he is headed to the University of Missouri in the powerhouse Southeastern Conference.
“Missouri intrigued me with its impressive facilities and coaching staff,” Diewert said. “My favourite part so far is the athletic building.”
The Tigers play their home games at the 3,031 seat Taylor Stadium. They also have an indoor facility that has three turf batting cages, dirt mounds, a team room and conference room.
Diewert will play for a former big leaguer when he steps on campus next fall. Steve Bieser will be taking over as Missouri’s head coach after previously being the head coach at Southeast Missouri. Bieser played 60 games in the big leagues, hitting a career .250 between the New York Mets and the Pittsburgh Pirates.
If someone had told Diewert when he was younger that he would go on to play in one of the best conferences in college baseball, he would have shaken his head and called them crazy.
“I was a late bloomer in the baseball world,” he recalls. “At a young age I struggled with competing in my age group.”
It took encouragement from his parents, who he emphasizes have supported him the whole way, to keep playing.
“At the age of 11, through lots of hard work I began to emerge as a dominant player in my age group.”
Once his game started coming together he played two years with the Mid Island Mustangs before starring for the Nanaimo Pirates for four seasons in the BC Premier Baseball League.
“In my senior year I earned a scholarship to play baseball at Polk State College in Winter Haven, Florida.”
Diewert feels Polk State has him ready for the rigorous training and playing schedule that will await him in Columbia, MO.
“Polk State has prepared me with its intense physical training and experienced coaching,” he said. “I pride myself on my work ethic and always try to be the hardest worker on and off the field.”
The expectation at Polk State certainly made a difference for another Canadian. J.D. Osborne is currently preparing for his senior season at the University of Tampa where he hit .363 with 13 home runs and 59 RBIs for the perennial Division II power. Osborne played two years at Polk State, hitting .292 as a freshman and .354 as a sophomore while garnering first-team all-conference honours.
Diewert hopes that his own hard work will help him stand out among the nation’s elite.
“I think my work ethic and being mentally tough is what separates me from other baseball players.”
Missouri has an impressive schedule that sees them go on the road for SEC play to Alabama, Georgia, Ole Miss, Vanderbilt and Tennessee in 2017.
For now, he will have to watch his future school from a distance while trying to have a successful final season at Polk State. Diewert will look to build on a 2016 that saw him hit .338 with seven home runs and 37 RBIs. He plans to continue to do what he has always done, try and outwork everyone else.
“I started playing baseball because it’s a game that revolves around skill. You get out what you put in.”