Caleb Deiter can’t remember a time when baseball didn’t play a significant role in his life.
“My family is a huge baseball family. Ever since I played when I was young, I’ve just loved it,” said Deiter, a senior who is beginning his third season as starting second baseman for the Whiteland high school baseball team.
“The earliest I remember is being 4-years old. My dad was always teaching me what to do out in our yard.”
Those lessons served Deiter well, though he’ll be hard-pressed to top the accomplishments of last season when, as a junior, he batted .329 for the Warriors and earned a spot on the Daily Journal’s All-County Team.
One of the unknowns of the upcoming season is where Deiter will be in the Warriors’ batting order. He presents many enticing options when it’s time for ninth-year Whiteland coach Scott Sherry to fill out his lineup card.
“Caleb is versatile. He puts the ball in play, so early in the season we will move him around,” said Sherry, noting that Deiter is comfortable – and effective – hitting anywhere from lead-off to the No. 5 spot.
“It’s all about his mindset,” Sherry said. “His calm demeanor. Caleb doesn’t get flustered, and his mindset is to help the team. It’s a team game, and he gets it.
“Caleb wants to win, and to him it really doesn’t matter what his stats are.”
Whiteland is coming off a 15-9 season in which it captured the Mid-State Conference title with a 10-2 record.
Deiter finished in the top five on the team in batting average, at-bats (70), hits (23) and runs scored (14). There were eight occasions in which he produced two or more hits, highlighted by a three-hit performance in a 9-6 victory against league rival Plainfield.
As a pitcher, Deiter posted a 5-1 record, working 51 innings and striking out 45 batters while surrendering only 11 walks. His best performance might have been against conference opponent Mooresville, when he worked seven innings and fanned eight batters in the Warriors’ 7-1 win.
Standing 5-foot-11 and weighing 160 pounds, Deiter is confident his dedication to off-season work will pay dividends in the weeks ahead.
“I felt like last season was a good improvement from the previous season. I still feel I have room to improve, though,” said Deiter, referring to Whiteland’s 2014 campaign, in which he played all 30 games with only a .190 batting average to show for it.
“We’re lucky enough to have that hitting barn (at Whiteland), and we always do team workouts after school,” Deiter said. “I felt like I needed to get stronger, so I can hit the ball a little farther this season.
“I feel like I got a lot bigger in the offseason.”
Deiter hit second in Whiteland’s lineup last season. In a recent scrimmage, he occupied a variety of spots in the top half of Whiteland’s batting order.
He has no preference as long as the Warriors win.
“Caleb is just a great kid to coach,” Sherry said. “He controls what he can control, which is his effort, attitude and behavior.”
Those lessons start at home.
Deiter’s father, Phil Deiter, laughs when remembering the day seven years ago he and his wife, Jodie, told their two sons they would soon be leaving their St. Louis home and moving to Indiana.
Caleb Deiter wasn’t protesting about leaving his buddies and the surroundings that were so familiar to him.
He was packing.
“Caleb was born with a very laid-back personality, but we also believe in making at least one impact every day,” said Phil Deiter, who was a hard-throwing right-handed pitcher for Chatard in the early 1990s.
“The goal is to strive for one and make many.”
THE DEITER FILE
Name: Caleb Deiter
Family: Parents, Phil and Jodie; brother, Nolan, 15
Favorite TV show: “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”
Favorite food: Wings
Favorite movie: “Moneyball”
Favorite athlete: Adam Wainwright
Favorite team: St. Louis Cardinals