Entering his freshman year at a new high school and a new hometown, Diego (Diggy) Castellanos wasn’t sure of his path or what his future would hold. He did know a strong desire and work ethic had been instilled in him by his family and previous coaches, and he would need every bit of that internal drive to accomplish what most high school players can only dream about… committing to a Division I university to continue his baseball playing career and earn an education at a prestigious university.
Diggy moved to Morgan Hill right before his freshman year, the oldest of 4 brothers in an active, athletic family. Like most incoming freshman baseball players, Diego was a skilled ballplayer but lacked the physicality that he would need to propel him to the upper levels of the game. Being the new kid in town, Diego had to make new friends, learn a new town, and establish himself at a high school that places a high premium on athletics. These are challenges for even the most outgoing of young men, but with Diego being heavily introverted, he had to find an outlet to help him integrate into his new environment. He found that with the baseball team at Live Oak High School.
One of the things that makes Diggy unique is his personality. He does not fit the profile that many quiet young men and women might fit into…. when Diggy gets on the field he is loud and displays a desire to be great and to elevate the play of his teammates. The field is where he expresses himself and shows his true colors. It was the field that gave him his new friends and identity in his new hometown, but it was the weight room that gave him the opportunity to sign a Division I scholarship this upcoming November.
The Call To Action: Finding Opportunities in Challenges
There are thousands of skilled high school baseball players in this country, but the reality is that only 2% of those will get the opportunity to play at the Division I level. At KPI, we see hundreds of athletes come through our door every week with a common pursuit of a goal in mind… to advance to the collegiate level. While our mix of the skill and strength side is unmatched by most facilities in the US, we know that the most physical ballplayers are usually the ones that advance to the upper levels of the game. We always understand the importance of skill development and the value of field practices, but we have also established with great regularity that those that are the most physical usually win this race.
Diggy started his high school career in a pretty standard fashion… playing JV baseball, being a pretty good player, but there was not a projection that he was going to be a Division I player. Most of his freshman and sophomore years were derailed by Covid, but we also saw Diggy get into something new during that time of limited team competitions… Diggy found the weight room. While we used Covid to figure out if he was more of a hitter or a pitcher (hitting won!), we also used that time to change who he was physically. Between his sophomore and junior seasons Diego gained 30 pounds of muscle and after the end of his Junior season, he was named the Most Valuable Player of the Blossom Valley Athletic League. The once skilled player became a physical force on the field, and he willed himself to that level with a relentless focus in the weight room and a drive to be the greatest version of himself at all times. The singles became doubles, the doubles became home runs, the good athlete turned into a physical power and his will to win saw him lead Live Oak another league title.
Using the Systems to Find the Ultimate Success
At KPI we pride ourselves on being the ultimate one-stop-shop to provide athletes with everything they need as soon as they walk in our doors. Kids like Diggy cash in on that approach and make us look good. Diego has found a way to improve himself in the weight room using our force plate workouts, become a more powerful hitter through our unique hitting system, and to lean on us for advice and guidance in the recruiting process. He shows up to KPI before school at 6:30am 3 days per week to do his lifting, and this Fall has fit in hitting sessions and baseball games around his aggressive football schedule. There are young athletes that find reasons not to do what needs to be done (busy, school, commute, etc) and there are athletes that do whatever it takes for the right thing to happen. Diggy made a choice a few years ago he was not going to be a victim of the numbers and that he was going to prioritize his development over everything else and do what had to be done to realize his dreams.
We are on an impressive run of athletes committing from KPI, but Diggy is a special one. Diggy had a vision for where he wanted to get to, and put in the work to see his dreams become a reality and we provided the system. That marriage is proving to be a very power force for the many athletes training at KPI. Seeing athletes get to live their dreams in full color right in front of us is the greatest reward of all. Diggy is another example of an encouraging trend of more and more athletes realizing their focused, hard work will lead to them achieving their goals. For us… that is the magic of the #kpicrew.