06/02/13 — Trojans' Dillon named Southeast's top pitcher, makes A-A squad

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Trojans' Dillon named Southeast's top pitcher, makes A-A squad

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on June 2, 2013 1:53 AM

Matt Dillon proved productivity is never an accident, but the result of commitment to excellence and a focused effort on the mound this spring.

The out-spoken Mount Olive College senior worked diligently in the offseason, assumed a pivotal leadership role and his renewed passion undoubtedly spread through the rest of the Trojan baseball team.

MOC logged 48 wins, won its fourth straight Conference Carolinas regular-season championship and played host to the Southeast Regional for the third consecutive year.

And Dillon didn't miss out on the individual awards, either.

The High Point native became the first-ever Trojan to emerge a back-to-back recipient of the Conference Carolinas pitcher-of-the-year award. He also received Rawlings/ABCA Southeast Region pitcher-of-the-year accolade, and garnered second-team All-American honors by the same organization.

Dillon is one of four MOC players to receive either first-, second- or third-team All-American recognition this season.

"It's humbling to get named an All-American and is something that is definitely the dream of any young baseball athlete," Dillon said. "That is definitely a dream come true. (And) being the pitcher-of-the-year in our region is a big deal because there are so many good arms in this region."

A 6-foot, 182-pound right-hander, Dillon posted a 1.86 earned run average (ERA) this season and tossed six complete games. He logged an 11-1 worksheet that included 108 strikeouts in 106-plus innings and held opposing teams to a .225 batting average.

Watt said Dillon didn't rely heavily on his fastball this season and the development of better secondary pitches proved beneficial in his success.

Dillon absorbed as much information as he could from pitching coach Jason Sherrer and other pitchers, which also helped him on the bump.

""I felt like as an individual, I put my best foot forward and gave my team a chance to win every time I toed the rubber," Dillon said. "The reason I was able to stay consistent this year is because my pitching coach (Rob Watt) hounded me about staying in the weight room and doing my running.

"Putting me in position to be a team captain, not necessarily to help the coaches with what they were doing, but police the team in making sure they were doing the right things helped me make sure I was doing the right things, too."

Dillon finished 20-3 with eight complete games during his collegiate career. He threw 189.7 innings, struck out 174 hitters and walked just 55.

The Trojans compiled a 92-18 record with Dillon on staff.

Watt and head coach Carl Lancaster each feel Dillon's stock improved for the amateur Major League Baseball draft, which is later this week.

"Stature-wise, he's not your prototypical guy who is projected to make the Big Leagues, but there are plenty of guys who kind of defy the odds a little bit," Watt said. "Matt is the type of kid who has a lot of grit, lot of toughness inside there. He takes care of business and he wants the baseball."

And the chance to fulfill another dream.