Beverlywood resident, Hamilton High senior and Beverlywood baseball player extraordinaire Dalton Blumenfeld, is the perfect example of how good things can come from years of hard work, dedication and lots of practice.We caught up with Dalton a few months shy of needing to decide between playing baseball in college or perhaps moving directly to the minor leagues. Either way, for a local hometown hero, it’s a very exciting dilemma to have.
Dalton grew up playing on the sunny ball fields of Rancho Park. For nine years he climbed the ranks from T-ball to Pony league, even following in the footsteps of his father Paul who played ball in the same park back in the late ‘60s. Paul explains that choosing this league was a no-brainer. “We always liked Cheviot. It was close to home, had a good atmosphere, good vibe.” And Dalton credits the league’s willingness to allow him to grow as a young athlete with helping him hone his skill and love for the game.
After a brief stint in the outfield as a preteen, Dalton quickly started showing strength in all areas of the sport. Says Dalton, “I started pitching, catching, playing first…” He also played other sports such as soccer and basketball but once he turned twelve, he knew that he wanted to focus solely on baseball. “I had dreamed of being a major league baseball player and people were telling me if you keep working hard, you could have a chance. Today, looking back at it, it’s crazy.”
Paul recalled the time his son accidentally broke his nose during a game. Paul raced him up to the hospital to get stitches and Dalton was in tears. Not from the pain but because all he wanted to do was make it back in time to finish the game. He did go back that day. He wasn’t allowed to play but still returned, bandages and all, to cheer on his team.
The relationships Dalton formed while playing baseball as a child also helped fuel his love of the sport. “Most of my childhood friends I made here at Cheviot.” Dalton went on to explain that many of those same guys are still playing together at Hamilton where Dalton is the star catcher of the Varsity team. Professional scouts are fixtures at his games. He’s attended showcases and pro-workouts which has been a thrill. “It’s really exciting,” says Dalton. “It’s really exciting to be invited to these things. Not too many kids are given this opportunity.”
Dalton has already made it over the first hurdle. Two years ago, Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles offered him a full scholarship to play ball starting as a college freshman in the fall. He will also participate in the professional draft this coming June. His proud dad explains, “He will have two great options on the table and ultimately it will be his decision to make and I know whatever decision he makes will be a great one. We’ll support him no matter what.”
We met up with Dalton on his old stomping grounds: the mustang field of Rancho Park. He was quickly recognized by former coaches and the on-duty umpire who greeted this former Cheviot Hills ballplayer with smiles and well-wishes. Parents as well as current players came by to say hi.
Our boys (and their best friend) were lucky enough to get Dalton to sign their baseballs. Whatever happens after the June draft, whether Dalton chooses to go
pro or go to college, he has sage advice for the many young players who see his accomplishments and dream about following in his footsteps. First and
foremost, he encourages all young athletes to keep their grades up. He also says to listen to your parents because it’s easy to make bad choices and parents help keep you on the right path. Speaking specifically to the game
of baseball, Dalton believes it’s never too soon to begin. “Start at a young age and keep working hard. It’s not easy to get to where I am right now. I trained everyday. You’ve got to do it. You’ve got to put in the work.” He goes on to advise, “Never get down on yourself. It’s a game of failure. Baseball is a game of failure. You’re going to fail seven out of ten times. But,” he added, “You’re still an all-star.”