By: Kyle Lancto
ALBANY, N.Y.- In the third week of the 2018 season, Deaven Phillips (Tampa) put together the best performance in his two-season stint with the Dutchmen to earn Spotlight Player of the Week honors.
On June 19th at Glens Falls, Deaven pitched six and a third dominant innings in the win. The only hit he allowed was a lead off single in the third inning. He also had five strikeouts while scattering three walks. He was named the PGCBL Pitcher of the Night for his efforts.
Despite the excellent performance, Phillips acknowledged his struggles early on in the game and focused on correcting them. “I realized early on that I was trying to do too much and that’s when I knew it was time to let my defense work…. Later in the game, I regained feel for my off-speed pitches which allowed me to keep the hitters off balance.”
After a 2017 season where he was used mostly in relief with limited success, Phillips is finding comfort in stepping into a starting role with the Dutchmen this season.
“Having the opportunity to come to Albany and start has taught me how to compete at a level that I never had the chance to compete at, Phillips said. “My objective is to go out and attack every batter from the start of the game as if they were the last batter I was going to face.”
Deaven is now 2-0 on the campaign, with a minuscule 0.79 ERA. Having not yet achieved the minimum number of innings pitched per team game, Phillips is not officially eligible for the ERA league standings. However, he would be second in the circuit in the category with two more innings pitched as of June 25th.
Phillips leads all eligible Dutchmen pitchers in ERA and batting average against, where opposing hitters are slashing just .118 off the right-hander.
On June 12th at Utica, he picked up a win in the Dutchmen’s 11-2 victory over the Blue Sox. Phillips allowed one earned run on three hits and three strikeouts. He now has a three-game winning streak, dating back to his only start last season in the final game of the regular season where he picked up a quality start in a 10-4 win over Mohawk Valley.
Deaven plans to remain a fixture in the Dutchmen’s starting rotation, while contributing to the team in as many ways as he can. “I plan to keep my routine the same and continue to get better,” Phillips said. “We have a great group of guys in the dugout and I know for a fact that we all want to leave here better than how we arrived.”
Phillips appeared in two games for the University of Tampa in 2018 and looks to take on a bigger role with the Spartans in 2019, using this summer season as a showcase and opportunity for crucial development as a pitcher.
“I want to leave Albany knowing that I am a better version of myself on and off the field. If I am able to do that, I know that will put me in a good situation to compete in the fall back in Tampa.”
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