Rams pitcher has contributed both on the mound and at the plate.
Above: Temple City High School pitcher Brian Dearth. (SGVN/Staff Photo Keith Birmingham/SXSports)
By Scott Galetti, Staff Writer
TEMPLE CITY – His coach calls him a “kind-hearted screwball” while teammates term him a leader.
When it comes to doing his best for the team, there’s nothing screwy about Temple City High School pitcher Brian Dearth.
Whether he starts or comes on in relief, Dearth takes the ball with the same passion as well as the desire to win.
The 6-foot-3 senior left-hander is 4-2 with two complete games, four saves and 70 strikeouts in 11 appearances (seven starts).
His hitting is not too shabby either.
Dearth is batting .387 with five doubles and 12 RBIs.
The senior has been a part of the Rams varsity baseball team since he was called up during his freshman season.
It also was during his freshman year that Dearth decided to choose baseball as his only school sport.
“I used to play basketball and soccer and I dropped all sports after my freshman year to focus on baseball,” Dearth said. “I excelled mostly in baseball and my love for baseball really pulled me away from the other sports. I worked hard to get where I’m at now to see if I can move on to the next level.”
The game’s mental aspect is what keeps Dearth’s love for baseball strong.
“I think it’s more than any other sport,” he said. “You have to be mentally prepared going into every game and I love being the pitcher with all the weight on my shoulders.”
Dearth has more than earned the respect of his teammates.
“He’s a very good leader for this team,” Temple City sophomore catcher Ruben Jara said. “He pushes us to do the best we can and, right now, he’s still our MVP because he becomes an even better leader to the young people each and every day.”
Temple City coach Barry Bacon put more responsibilities on Dearth’s shoulders this season, and the senior has responded.
“I think the talent’s always been there, but I think it’s the maturity of a young man growing into an adult,” Bacon said. “I’ve asked him to become more of a leader this year, and that’s not a role he’s used to.”
Bacon is impressed with the way Dearth has shrugged off adversity this season.
“He’s on the mound and we’re kicking balls behind him and he’s not getting too upset,” Bacon said. “That’s the maturation we’re looking for.”
Added Dearth: “All summer I was playing with boys that are now committed to USC, Arizona, Arizona State and all these big Division I schools and I got hit there all the time and basically built off that.”
At first glance, Dearth, 7-4 with three saves a year ago, doesn’t appear to be overly imposing on the mound. The problem for hitters, however, is he knows how to pitch.
“He’s a pitcher that never gives up, he always comes out 100 percent and he has good fundamentals,” Rams catcher Ruben Jara said. “He can hit his spots when he needs to, he brings heat to his fast ball and his curveball and off-speed pitches are great.”
Dearth used his changeup as an out pitch in an impressive complete-game 1-0 shutout victory at Monrovia on Wednesday.
“I basically went fastball/changeup and maybe threw two curveballs, and those weren’t until the last inning,” Dearth said.
Building a repertoire is something the Rams pitcher has been working on for a while.
“Pitching is where I excel and work the most and I want to end up pitching somewhere later on in life,” the left-hander said.
Dearth has allowed just two earned runs in his last three starts, but his team hasn’t backed him up at the plate.
“You look at his outings, he’s not giving up more than one or two runs a game and we’re putting up one or two for him,” Bacon said. “There’s nothing technical. If his team would answer the bell and score three or four runs per game, he’d be undefeated.”
He prefers pitching, but Dearth’s most memorable moment in high school to date came last season when he hit a game-winning grand slam in the bottom of the seventh in a 7-4 victory over San Marino.
“Everyone still talks about that all the time and they still bring it up,” Dearth said. “It’s cool that I had that moment. It could’ve happened to anyone, but it turned out for me and it was awesome.”
Dearth still is undecided about what college he will be attending in the fall, since this decision is the furthest thing from his mind.
“I told him a month ago, don’t worry about colleges or professional scouts, just worry about being a high school kid for Temple City and going out and doing what he does,” Bacon said. “He’s not pitching anymore to get scholarships or get drafted, he’s pitching for Temple City. Those guys will find him.”
The senior is considering Florida State University and Long Beach State.
“I’m pretty-much undecided right now, waiting for an offer from someone,” Dearth said. “It would be nice to stay close to home, but I’m willing to go anywhere.”