Justin DeCriscio remembers being just a toddler when he first showed interest in baseball. The Orange Lutheran senior always had a ball and a bat in his hand and would watch the major leaguers on television, dreaming of making it there himself one day.
“Baseball has always been a part of my life, and I love it,” says DeCriscio. “I love it because every time I’m on the field is when I’m the happiest. Being on a baseball field is where I belong. I love everything about the game. It’s competitive, and it’s a game of failure, which is hard sometimes. But just knowing it’s a game of failure, the times you have successes makes it that much greater. It makes you appreciate it more.”
The Lancers shortstop took advantage of the extended time off due to COVID-19 to work on areas of his game he felt needed improvement. Days in the weight room and batting cages during the spring and summer months have already paid dividends for DeCriscio, and as he begins his senior season this weekend, he is prepared to give 100 percent, no matter what.
“Justin DeCriscio checks the box in every category pertaining to the model student athlete,” says OLu baseball head coach, Eric Borba. “He is one of the most talented guys I have ever coached, but more importantly, he is one that all of his peers look up to. He is the first person to welcome new students, whether they are transfers or freshmen. He mentors the younger players both on the field and off. Justin's work ethic is off the charts, as he is constantly working on his skill set. He is one of the finest to come through our baseball program.”
The four-year varsity player has spent countless hours on the baseball diamond, many of those with travel ball club teams. But DeCriscio says there is something special about playing for the Lancers and representing his high school as a student athlete. Winning the USA Baseball National High School Invitational (NHSI) as a freshman and a sophomore are just a few of his favorite memories that come to mind.
“I love being in competitive games and winning as a team,” says DeCriscio of playing for OLu. “All the aspects of going out as a team and trying to compete for something, that really matters.”
DeCriscio admits that playing a “game of failure” can be challenging, but he has learned that controlling what he can control and leaving the rest to God is the best approach, both in baseball and in life.
“Orange Lutheran does a great job…we put God above everything,” says DeCriscio. “Just knowing that he has a plan for anything that happens, whether it’s good or bad…it’s all leading up to something better. And knowing that he has a plan for you and that you’re here for a purpose is really comforting.”
DeCriscio is headed to the University of San Diego to continue his baseball career and will spend this summer playing in a college development league in Portland as he prepares for his next steps. The inspiration and support he has received from his parents have left an indelible mark on his path as an athlete.
“Both my mom and my dad…they provide a great life for me and my brother,” says DeCriscio. “Just seeing how they work so hard at everything and never make excuses, that’s why they’re my role models. I strive to be as good as them.”
Learn more about Justin in this episode of "The Walk".