Editor's note: As result of an incorrect listing on official league rosters, the name of Warren Dietz was misspelled in the Tuesday edition of the Newton Kansan. The online version of this story has been edited to correct the error. The Kansan regrets the error.
Warren Dietz stood on the mound of Klein-Scott Field Sunday night and took a deep breath. He had just walked the first batter he had faced when called on in the late innings to protect a Newton lead. He checked with his catcher for a sign, then went to work.
Three batters later, he had struck out two, induced a grounder and left that runner on base. It was a moment, on Father's Day, that the Newton Rebel could relish.
Dietz drew the biggest cheers of the night during his appearance. His family was in the stands — not having far to go. Dietz is the hometown hero of sorts for the Rebels this summer — the lone Newton High School grad on the summer college baseball team's roster.
"It is nice," Dietz said. "I took a summer off last summer and it is good to be back on Klein-Scott Field."
On Sunday, he pitched in front of his family — his father, Greg, an assistant principal at Newton High School, among them — on Father's Day.
"I always feel their support, and that is always good," Warren said.
A baseball and football player in high school, Warren pitched for the Railers and the American Legion Knights. Klein-Scott is a familiar place.
Tuesday, he will be in the dugout of another familiar place — Eck Stadium. While Dietz chose to not play baseball at Wichita State, he enrolled as a student there. He has spent many a spring afternoon watching the Shockers in Eck Stadium, some of those times wishing he could get on the field.
"As a student, you watch at Wichita State and think 'hey, I could maybe play with some of these guys,' " Warren said. "It will be nice to be on the field."
He is considering a transfer to Kansas State University this fall. He does not know if baseball will be part of his plans.
"If the opportunity arises where I might get a tryout, that would be an opportunity. If not, I will just be a student," Warren said.
For now, he is pitching out the bullpen for the hometown Newton Rebels. So far this summer he has appeared in five games, posting four strikeouts in 3 1/3 innings on the season.
"This means a lot. Baseball is something I have been doing my whole life. To get an opportunity to come back and play again, with a great group of guys, I really appreciate it. ... I am excited to play for them."
The next home date for the Rebels will be 7 p.m. Wednesday when the Bat Cats come to town. They are also scheduled for one more game at Eck Stadium during the regular season — 5:30 p.m June 25 against the Hutchinson Monarchs.