CJ Dearman was supposed to have his senior day at Florida International University.
He was supposed to take the mound one last time at FIU Baseball Stadium in May, strike someone out, and ride off into the sunset, possibly on a bus somewhere in the minor leagues.
Instead, the pitcher’s senior season was cut off shortly due to the COVID-19 viral outbreak. Now, Dearman’s senior day will have to come next year at St. Thomas University in Miami.
“Originally I was planning on just graduating from FIU with my bachelors,” Dearman said. “However with the epidemic going on and me being gifted another year to play, I definitely wanted to take advantage. Also. St Thomas was willing to give me an opportunity to attend grad school and play on a very good team. Two of my best friends from FIU are also going with me so it just seemed like an ideal choice.”
CJ Dearman at FIU
Dearman was primarily a relief pitcher at FIU, posting a 3.41 ERA in 24 career appearances with one save and 15 strikeouts in 29 innings pitched. At the South Florida Collegiate Baseball League, he is a starting pitcher for the Pompano Beach Clippers. He’s posted a 1.68 ERA in three starts with 12 strikeouts in 10.2 innings.
One interesting component of the summer league is taking on former teammates. A handful of Dearman’s FIU teammates are in the SFCBL but none of them play for the Clippers. Dearman’s introduction to the 2020 SFCBL season was versus a former teammate. He took on West Boca Snappers’ second baseman Derek Cartaya, who has a .305 career bating average in four years at FIU.
“To play against my former teammates is an absolute blast,” Dearman said. “It makes you bring the best out of yourself because no one wants to lose to their friend. We look forward to those games because no matter what. It’s always a lot more fun, especially when you’re striking your friends out.”
As great it is to be one of the few playing baseball at a time where the enigmatic epidemic hangs over the nation like a tropical storm hovers over Florida, Dearman says it doesn’t make up for the lost spring.
“It’s just because it’s not the same,” Dearman said. “Like for summer, I didn’t grind and do those tough 6 a.m. workouts with those guys. So I don’t know what I’m getting into. Also, I don’t get to go to the cool cities around the U.S. when I play summer ball as opposed to when I was at FIU.
“So it doesn’t really make up for it but it does give me that same fun feeling of playing the game I love.”