Carmen Del Mastro’s time on the baseball team is wearing thin, but his career is coming full circle.
The Owls’ senior second baseman has been on a tear, as he’s helped Temple begin its first three Atlantic Ten Conference series with an 8-1 record. So far, Del Mastro is hitting .417 with 34 runs and 18 RBIs in 26 games. He’s turning heads in the stands at Skip Wilson Field, but his fans are not the only ones to take notice.
For the first time in his career, Del Mastro was named A-10 Player of the Week for hitting .650 two weeks ago. He picked up some more hardware, as he was also named the Big 5 Player of the Week for his hot bat. Even inside the game, he had the feeling the accolades were coming.
“When I hit in another RBI against La Salle, [senior outfielder Jamie] Abercrombie just came up to me with a big smile and said that should wrap it up for you,” Del Mastro said. “All I could do was smile from there.”
Del Mastro had some big shoes to fill when he was named one of the leaders of the 2009 squad, but he’s taking the role on headfirst. The first thing Del Mastro thinks about going into the rest of the season is how his rise in status came about. The help of his teammates and coaches got him there, and he hasn’t forgotten that.
“Going away to Colorado for summer ball helped me clear my mind a lot,” Del Mastro said. “Besides that, coach [Rob] Valli is very influential. He gave me my chance, and I owe him that. Former [assistant] coach [Casey] Faye had a big hand in my upbringing, and [assistant] coach [Greg] Lemon is really doing a great job now with my swing and showing me new things with my footwork.”
The help has certainly given Del Mastro a boost, as he is currently among the top five averages in the A-10. In addition to his 13 stolen bases and 45 hits, his health status is finally in check.
Del Mastro has constantly been plagued with injuries over his four years.
“It’s a lot about being healthy. The last two years has been either an ankle, foot or an arm, just something,” Del Mastro said. “I’m glad I’m finally back in there and getting a chance to do what I do.”
That attitude has come with a few changes, though. After two campaigns of hitting sub-.300, Del Mastro finally feels his batting is back.
“I switched up my stance,” Del Mastro said. “In the fall, I got my confidence down. I was tracking the ball down better, getting it lower on my bat, just making sure my on-base is better.”
Those changes are evident, as at this point in time during the last two seasons, he was hovering around the .250 range. Change ended up being good, but the Penn State Delaware County transfer ended up keeping some of his habits, like his stellar defense.
“I take so much pride in my defense. I got my footwork down from taking balls off the turf, and it’s something I always thought was one of my strong points,” Del Mastro said.
In four years of work, he has only committed about 20 errors. That stat is golden for a player who has been in the lineup consistently, which Del Mastro said is the key for winning the rest of this season.
“I’d say consistent is a good word to describe my game,” he said. “We have to take it one step at a time, and right now, that’s exactly what’s working for us.”
Del Mastro and company still have a ways to go, though. With Saint Joseph’s and Charlotte on the horizon, Del Mastro will have his squad playing its best baseball.
Christian Audesirk can be reached at email@example.com.