MERIDEN — Meriden resident Dallas DeFrancesco has traveled halfway across the world to continue his career in baseball and the pursuit of his dream of working for a Major League Baseball team.
DeFrancesco was a standout pitcher on the diamond at Maloney and continued his playing career at Division III Plymouth State University.
DeFrancesco’s Tommy John surgery in 2013, just days before entering college, proved to be a blessing. He turned his attention to coaching, scouting and player development.
DeFrancesco successfully came back from the surgery and returned to the diamond in 2015. He graduated from the New Hampshire school with an bachelors degree in Sports Management and later got an MBA in General Management. He was a player/grad assistant while he earned his masters.
“It was the best situation you can ask for,” DeFrancesco said.
For the last five years, DeFrancesco has worked for Prep Baseball Report.
“We are a scouting service,” DeFrancesco said. “I’m a middle man between high schools and college. I travel New England all summer. I find kids with potential skill to play at the next level. Three or four times a month we have big events in Connecticut, Massachusetts New Hampshire and Rhode Island. The last event 55 (college) coaches and 160 kids.”
After graduation, DeFrancesco said he found a baseball internship in Israel, where his mother Sarit was born. DeFrancesco took it and stayed in Tel Aviv for three months after graduating college last spring.
“Why not?” he said. “I just finished college. I’m Jewish and have family in Israel. It’s something I’m connected to. I became a dual citizen.”
He did the internship for three months in Israel for the Israel baseball operations. He played and worked with youth players during his time. Spreading his love of baseball.
“I jumped right into it,” DeFrancesco said. “I developed my style, my pitching approach. I never had done that before. I always took orders as an assistant coach. I was the pitching coach for the Israel national team. I coached the 12U, 14U, 16U and 18U teams.”
After that stint abroad, DeFrancesco returned to Israel for a six month stay in the fall and moved to Northern Israel where he works as the Director of Operations with the Israel Baseball/Softball Club. DeFrancesco is an on-site coach. He works with school-aged students during the school days. The boys and girls play 45-minute gym class that is primarily playing baseball. He works with seven or eight middle and high schools throughout northern Israel. In all, he coaches boys and girls aged 5-18.
In addition to coaching, the right handed pitcher also played for the Ra’nana Raiders on the 14-game season. His team defended the Middle Eastern Baseball title. In addition to coaching and playing, he also umpires. He also occasionally maintains the field. He returned home from his latest trip to Israel last month.
“I’m 23 and by the time I’m 24, I will have a year of international experience,” DeFrancesco said. “I think at that point at the Winter Meetings, I may have more experience team’s are looking for. I’m packing my bags up and moving 5,500 miles because I love baseball. I have a passion for it and I want to get my story out there.”
“I’m hoping by the time I’m 26 i’m hoping to be working for an MLB organizations,” he added. “From where I’m at right now, I have never had a full year of work because I always had to go back to school. Now I’m out of college in my first year. I get to go after my dreams full speed and i’m looking forward to it and I’m looking forward to seeing where i have a year from now.”
DeFrancesco has also picked up a new language. He speaks Hebrew to his players and teammates. He added that he’s never felt unsafe. He’s been in the country for two terrorist attacks.
“It’s an amazing country,” DeFrancesco said. “I had an amazing time. It is a war zone. But I feel safe. I never felt threatened for my life. I was more scared for my friends in the military.”
DeFrancesco is heading back to Israel in late August, For the summer, DeFrancesco is coaching 16U AAU ball in Manchester, the Shoreline Breakers. He is also giving private lessons in the Meriden area and can be reached at email@example.com. He’s working at the Meriden YMCA this summer.
“I love Meriden,” DeFrancesco said. “I’m a hometown guy. People know me as a baseball freak. it’s not just a hobby. I’m making it into a career.”