Dumont HS graduate Daniel Raglievich overcomes injury to shine at Post University
Daniel Raglievich knew from a very young age that he wanted to play baseball. There was basketball, flag football and two years of soccer but Raglievich said baseball was always his passion.
“My Dad coached me when I was in Little League and he would take me out in the yard and play catch with me or take me to the field and hit groundballs to me. My Mom was a team Mom in Little League”
While attending Dumont High School, Raglievich played on the freshman baseball team but knew it would take increased effort and training to make the jump to the varsity squad. “I was weak, thin and frail, never worked out before and when I did make varsity my coach said it’s not permanent if I’m not ready and could be sent down to JV.”
Fast forward to senior year, Raglievich recognized the fact that the Huskies were a younger team with a lot of players in their first year on varsity and unsure how the season would go. In the first game of the regular season against Ridgefield Park, Raglievich made an impact statement, tossing a no-hitter while striking out 17 hitters and allowing just one walk.
“It was very important being a league game and getting off on the right note,” said Raglievich. “We had a very successful season at 21-6 but didn’t win the state sectional title.”
Nicknamed “Rags” because his Dad’s friends’ called him that name in high school, Raglievich finished the season on a high note with a 9-1 record, 65 innings pitched, yielding 10 runs, eight of them earned, 40 hits, 19 walks and whiffing 108 batters that earned him All-Bergen County, All-Big North American Division and All-State First Team honors and helping Dumont clinch their 10th Big North American Title in the last 11 years.
“The personal stats did not matter but helping the team win and I left it all out on the field. When you walk into the gymnasium at the school, they have all the banners up with the teams’ and championships. For baseball you see all the league titles and it’s almost every single year and we wanted to keep that going but main goal was to do something bigger and take it a step further.”
Talking about the job Huskies Head Coach Jason Cannici has done, “I always had a good relationship with him and he pushed me to be the best I could be and tried to hold me to a very high standard that I liked and he pushed me to be better. He pitched at Division I Manhattan and knew what it took to be a pitcher so he was very helpful throughout high school and developing me as a pitcher.”
In October of Raglievich’s senior year at Dumont, he heard from Post University, located in Waterbury, Connecticut, and baseball Head Coach Ray Ricker. For Raglievich this would mean leaving his hometown.
“Growing up in Dumont, a small town where everyone knows each other, Raglievich said. For all the baseball games we would have huge crowds and when I was walking around town and not playing baseball people would come up to me and start talking about the baseball team.”
“Coach Ricker saw me in a tournament and brought me up to the campus. Only an hour and half to forty-five minutes located from my home and within driving distance. Coach Ricker had been there a couple of years but the program has come a long way and trending upwards and in the right direction and something I wanted to be a part of. I knew they we’re good at developing pitchers and a year or two before they had a pitcher Mike Costello drafted by the Baltimore Orioles and helped with the decision to come to Post.”
“A pretty small campus where there are 800 kids and many of the students are athletes and very supportive of each other and go to each other’s games and check the box scores. A very supportive atmosphere and teachers’ are understanding of when athletes are going to miss class time due to obligations with their teams’ and make-up work and giving extensions when needed.”
Just when it seemed Raglievich was peaking in his baseball career, he hit a speed bump with a lingering elbow injury that shelved him for the majority of his freshman year with the Eagles but that just motivated him further.
“I trained at Rockland Peak Performance, rested my arm and came back stronger,” said Raglievich. “Freshman year was an adjustment, in high school I just used my velocity to actually get hitters out and in college that does not work well so my off-speed pitch needed to be sharper and work both sides of the plate. In the fall I worked with the pitching coach Cory Popham.”
A couple of months before the 2019 regular season would start, Raglievich learned of the news that Popham had accepted a job with the Toronto Blue Jays. Replacing Popham as pitching coach would be Rob Blanc. Despite the lack of chemistry Raglievich credits Blanc for his experience with strength and conditioning and implementing a lifting program so he could get stronger.
With an imposing presence standing tall at 6’5 and 245 pounds, Raglievich made his fifth start of the season in game one of a double header at Caldwell University on Monday April 8. Raglievich turned the clock back to his high school pitching days hurling five innings, permitting one run on three hits, walking four and fanning eight to register his first win of the season.
“It’s great it happened in New Jersey, my parents and brother were they’re supporting me,” Raglievich said. “A great experience and something I won’t forget. This season we’re doing much better, 15-13 overall and 13-5 in the conference and have a lot of momentum going into the playoffs. Miguel De Los Santos caught me but there is Jared Zima as well. They both come out to talk to me on the mound and in the dugout and go over what we need to improve.”
Even with the opportunity to advance to the major league level down the road, Raglievich is concentrating on the present and excelling in the classroom.
“I’m just trying to go out every fifth or seventh day and give a good outing and help the team win and do well in the standings. I decided in the summer I’m going to train again and get stronger and throw harder.”
“During my college/recruiting process in senior year of high school I did not know what I wanted to major in. An advisor at Post was showing me the majors and sports management jumped out at me. Something I never heard before but an athletic director is something I’m interested in when I’m done playing baseball.”
Sunil Sunder Raj
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