PANTHER OF THE WEEK: Kydalewicz giving his all in Liberty Hill’s playoff run
By Lance Catchings
Kaden Dydalewicz was a move-in to the Liberty Hill baseball program this year and right away Head Coach Steven Hutcherson saw him as a potential contributor.
“My first impression of Kaden I knew he was going to be a guy that could help because he was a pitcher and you can never have enough pitchers,” Hutcherson said. “He was also a guy that was a good hitter and the more we did drills in the fall he showed himself to be a good defensive player in the infield. He brought every aspect and tool with him to the team. He just added to what I already thought was a talented roster. He came in with an open mind. He does what you coach him, and I think he has had fun this year. He has appreciated the fact that his high school baseball career is ending the way that it is.”
Dydalewicz has been a play maker all season for the Panthers but the toughness he showed in pitching while under the weather in the regional quarterfinal playoff series was a statement.
“Kaden didn’t feel good last week, and he went out and threw a good game,” Hutcherson said. “He gets in a mode where he becomes ultra-competitive and that happened against Sealy. When he gets in that mode you know he is going to be good. Competitive guys you want to make sure they are doing it in a good way, and he gave us everything he had.”
Dydalewicz said he has enjoyed every moment since becoming a Panther.
“This experience in Liberty Hill with this new team has been awesome for me,” he said. “I have made a lot of new friends and teammates along the way. We have clicked well as a team and things are going well for us right now. We plan to keep going as long as we can. When I first came here, we got a new head coach and I think he is one of the best there is in the state. I was excited to get the opportunity to play for him. We have great team chemistry and we have a good lineup from players one through nine. We have good pitching, defense and just an overall excitement about what we are doing right now.”
The strategy in the regional quarterfinal was simple. Jump on Sealy as early as possible.
“We wanted to hop on them in the first game and then do the same in game two,” Dydalewicz said. “We wanted to try and knock them out in two games. We got the bats going and we wanted to use good defense and pitching to our advantage.”
Dydalewicz led the Panthers to a 9-2 victory in game two of the series. He pitched seven innings allowing two hits, two runs and striking out five.
“I felt like against Sealy I did not play my best game, but I still got the job done,” he said. “I was running a fever and still went out there and pitched all seven innings and shut them down. Since a young age I have always played no matter how bad I felt because I had such strong passion for the game. It was the third round of the playoffs, so it means a lot. I went out there and gave it everything I had and did it for my team.”
When on the mound Dydalewicz enjoys the ability to keep his opponent off balance.
“When I am finding a groove on the mound it feels good,” Dydalewicz said. “When my off-speed pitch is working, and my fastball is having a great run on its things are pretty good. I do my best to try and mix up my pitches as best I can.”
He also tallied two hits and two RBI’s at the plate in the 9-2 victory. He currently has a one-track mind and the focus is on a baseball state championship.
“Offensively we were on fire in the second game against Sealy,” Dydalewicz said. “We were hitting the ball all over the field against their pitcher and we lit him up pretty good. He threw me two fast balls high and down the middle and I hit them hard. I felt like I was seeing the ball well too. We are clicking on all cylinders right now and I believe we can win state. We have a great team and we have all the pieces in place for it.”
Dydalewicz and his teammates will take on Sinton this week in the regional semifinal playoff round.