Now deep into his senior year, Keller Fossil Ridge’s Dylan Neuse is making a name for himself on the baseball diamond.
Neuse has been a standout player for the Panthers, turning in a solid junior year and then picking up where he left off.
Neuse anchors the shortstop role and is also a relief pitcher and part of the Panthers’ attack that has them near the top of the District 3-6A standings.
He’s also ratcheted up his batting average, now hitting about .477, including five home runs and 12 extra base hits. Neuse has also racked up 25 RBI and 23 runs scored.
While he’s made a name for himself, it wasn’t always that way. For many years, he was routinely referred to using the follow-up phrase, “Sheldon’s little brother.”
But now deep into his senior year’s baseball campaign, Dylan has earned his own naming reference.
The former Panthers and Oklahoma standout may now have to get used to being known as “Dylan’s older brother.” He’s now playing in the Washington Nationals farm system.
Neuse still credits his older brother with helping make his stats and season what they are, though.
“Sheldon has learned a lot of new things and is handing it down to me,” Neuse said. “I’ve figured out a lot from him and he’s been a big help. He’s always known more than me, being older. He’s taught me major hand skills, how to react to the ball and a lot of footwork.”
The younger Neuse has already committed to play at McLennan Community College in Waco next season, so the focus has been on making this season the best possible.
“This season is to get the most memories and to have a good time,” he said. “I’m not worried about doing everything perfect.”
That mindset is proving effective, even if everything isn’t perfect.
Neuse said he knows there will be ups, downs and slumps, but when a slump should arise – and it hasn’t yet, he said – he and team are good at figuring out what to do and what they shouldn’t do.
Although he’s basically the same height (5-10) as last year, Neuse said he’s put some muscle on, which has improved his power at the plate.
Much of the improvement seen this year is being documented and charted against his personal goals.
Neuse said he has made a list and he’s watched his career batting average climb from .398. He wants to be able to finish the season with at least a .420 average. He wants to get on base more often and strikeout fewer times than last season. He also wants to exploit his increased power and claim at least seven home runs before the season concludes.
Goals from the mound include decreasing the number of walks he awards.
But his overriding goal is to help take Ridge past the third round of the playoffs, where they exited last season.
“We have a lot of confidence that we can go at least a couple of rounds deep,” Neuse said. “Only one team can win state, but if we get through the first few rounds without any complications or errors, when it gets tougher, we’ll fight for it.”
He said he’s been more of an action leader than verbal, which should help the Panthers reach their goal. His talk on the field he chalks up as “communication.”
The fact there are 12 seniors on this year’s Panthers team may contribute to the fact Neuse may not need to be as vocal. He said the maturity of the team is deep and that helps set the table for them to make a long run in the postseason.