Featured Alumni – Nick DeVito
November 12, 2014
It’d be an exaggeration to suggest that Nick DeVito bleeds SSBC Blue and Gold, but you get the point. And it’s valid.
DeVito’s involvement with baseball came, he said recently: “As soon as I could move.” Then somewhere around the age of five or six he recalls being by far the biggest in his group on the first day of SSBC’s Rookie League. Club President, Frank Niles, was the coach/pitcher who in big/little Nick’s first AB was required to protect a very private place from a line drive off the not so little boy’s bat. “He almost got me,” Niles recalls. “I knew right away he was different from all the others.” There would be many more over the next several years. The DeVito kid could hit a baseball. A very long way.
Nick was a several time Seadog who made the all tournament team at the AAU Nationals in Minnesota when he was twelve. At 16 he was MVP of an invitational tournament in Cocoa Beach, Florida, and in the Super Seven he won the home run derby over Matt Bush, later the #1 overall pick in the MLB draft, chosen by the San Diego Padres.
That line drive at the SSBC Rookie League was no fluke. Nick DeVito, now 6’5″ and 235 pounds, continued to attract attention both for his size and baseball skills. He was a standout for some good but not great Hingham HS Harbormen ballclubs. He was a four year starter…three time all conference selection…two time team captain…Globe, Herald, Ledger all scholastic selection…Patriot League MVP in 2003 when he hit .570 and fondly remembers over a decade later the walkoff HR he hit in extra innings as a senior to win the Patriot League title.
Coach Niles sometimes describes a good young player by saying “He’ll have a chance to play this game for a long time.” Nick DeVito did. Drafted in the 42nd round by the Cincinnati Reds in ’03, he opted instead to play college ball starting at UConn and finishing at SUNY/Cortland where his teams were 88-8 and played in the D-III College World Series in back to back years.
DeVito’s already played the game for a long time and his involvement has continued with the Weymouth and Quincy Phillies of the Cranberry League both as a player and manager. The SSBC connection continues strong as well. The big/little kid who had his first ever hitting lesson with Frank Niles a short time after that line drive in the Rookie League, is now a member of the Hingham HS coaching staff where Niles is the head coach. Niles laughs when he says it’s not uncommon for his players to beg the assistant coach to take some BP swings himself just for the pleasure of watching a DeVito struck baseball disappear over the fence. DeVito can still hit a baseball a very long way.
DeVito’s lengthy involvement with SSBC continues as well with contributions to clinics and workshops and availability for individual hitting lessons. It’s an undertaking he describes as “arguably even a better feeling than performing yourself.” He is, he says “Trying to help players learn the most, be respectful and have the most fun possible while doing it.”
Written by Lanny Larason