One look at Luca Dalatri’s family tree should give anybody a pretty good indication why he is very good athlete.
“It’s nice to know my family has done everything I like to do, too,” said Dalatri, a freshman pitcher at Christian Brothers Academy.
Dalatri’s father, Rich, was a long-time strength and conditioning coach with first the then New Jersey Nets, now Brooklyn Nets, and the Cleveland Cavaliers of the NBA.
Rich Dalatri also coached the Italian and Ukrainian national basketball teams.
Dalatri’s mother, Elvira, played basketball professionally in Italy and for the Italian National Team.
His uncle, Brian, played football at Brick Township High School for former legendary Green Dragons’ head coach Warren Wolf.
“Knowing that I come from that (a family with such an extensive athletic background) has made me humble,” Dalatri said.
Dalatri has gotten his scholastic baseball career off to a solid start. He improved to 3-1 by throwing four innings of one-hit ball in CBA’s 10-0, five-inning win over Howell on Wednesday that enabled the Colts to clinch at least a tie for the Shore Conference Class A North championship.
It is CBA’s first divisional title since 2010, when it won the Class A North non-public divisional title. Howell, which defeated CBA earlier in the season, was one game back before the game.
Wednesday was by far the biggest game Dalatri has pitched so far in his brief scholastic career.
“I was very excited. As a freshman getting the ball, it was a big deal,” Dalatri said. “I knew I could deal with it (the pressure of pitching in a big game). I’ve thrown in these games in the past. It was just good experience for me.”
Dalatri, a 6-foot-4, right-hander, struck out six, walked one and allowed just a leadoff single to Rob Napolitano in the third.
The fact CBA coach Marty Kenney, New Jersey’s fourth winningest all-time coach with 702, would have a freshman as part of his rotation and also place him in the lineup on days he is not pitching is an indication of Dalatri’s potential.
“He’s got a world of talent. There’s no question about that,” Kenney said. “He’s a physical specimen at this age. He’s only 14 years old, but he looks like he’s 18 or 19 years old. Sometimes, when you talk to him, you’ve got to remind yourself of that (that he’s only 14).”
Kenney has coached many talented pitchers during his 40 seasons, including current Boston Red Sox farmhand Pat Light and Kyle Slate, who spent time in the Philadelphia Phillies’ organization. He said Dalatri is probably further along as a freshman.
“You can throw out a lot of names, but they were not this good as a freshman, or maybe even their sophomore year,” Kenney said. “I envision him, obviously, throwing harder as he moves from year-to-year. He’s got an outstanding breaking ball for a freshman and he can pretty much throw it on just about any count, which is unique.
“You don’t expect a 14-year old to be able to throw three pitches. He’s got tremendous potential. There’s no doubt about it.”