The dugout erupted in cheers, high fives, and hugs as the Century College Mighty Wood Ducks defeated Waubansee Community College to make it to the national championship game. Among them was Jared Dettman, a pitcher who had the opportunity to forgo college to play professional baseball but instead opted to get an education first.
Dettman showed natural talent throughout high school which attracted the attention of the Minnesota Twins.
“I had gotten to know the Twins scout that drafted me,” Dettman said. “When I was a sophomore, he invited me to a camp that they held and things just went from there. I got better my junior and senior year and apparently they liked something about me.”
Dettman was drafted in the 46th round of the 2011 MLB amateur draft by the Minnesota Twins. The draft had such standouts such as Trevor Bauer and Dylan Bundy. But instead of following in their footsteps by choosing to sign and start a professional baseball career, Dettman went a different route.
“In high school I didn’t really know what to expect with the draft,” Dettman said. “School is important to me. I figure if I get drafted, it’s definitely an honor but I thought I should get a few years of school in first.”
Dettman spent the 2012 baseball season playing for the University of Connecticut but decided that it wasn’t the right fit for him. He decided to move back home and find a place where he could lay a solid educational foundation while playing the sport he loves.
“I started looking at Division II four-year schools at first and then I decided that I kind of want to go back to Division I baseball so then junior college came into the mix,” Dettman said. “I visited Century and liked everything about it.”
The 2013 season marked the third season of Century’s young baseball program. However, that didn’t intimidate or deter Dettman.
“I came over, visited Century and liked everything about it. I looked up Dwight (Kotila) and knew he had a really good reputation with previous teams and had a lot of success with them,” Dettman said. “I talked to Randy (Briesacher), our pitching coach, and knew he knew his stuff because he was a scout and had played professional baseball himself.”
Dettman said he has seen the team grow throughout the course of the season and that supporting each other has been key to their success.
“I feel like at first we were a little bumpy all around. I mean the first couple of games we had in the Metrodome in Minnesota, they weren’t our greatest to say the least,” Dettman said. “But it was definitely something that helped us see what we had to fix and really focus on. Every guy has put in so much work and really leaned on each other. If it’s not one guy, then another guy will step up and help him out so it’s really cool.”
Head baseball coach Dwight Kotila has seen success through coaching several winning teams. He took Riverland Community College to the NJCAA World Series in 1998 and led Ridgewater College to six different world series tournaments finishing as the national runner-up in 2005. He said he thinks this team has the potential to go all the way.
“In my 16 years of doing this, this is the deepest team I’ve ever had and I’ve been to the World Series eight times,” Kotila said. “I couldn’t ask for better guys.”
Despite the optimism, Kotila said he knows the road ahead won’t be easy.
“I can’t even think about a national championship right now,” Kotila said. “We’ll have to beat Gloucester twice which is going to be tough because they’re a really good team.
Dettman agreed saying although it will be tough, he thinks they have a chance.
“It’s what everybody works for and it would be a crazy experience,” Dettman said. “Gloucester is a good team. I think we have a chance to show them what we can do and hopefully a national championship can be a possibility.”