The Walla Walla Sweets are thrilled to announce the return of Emory University sophomore RHP Billy Dimlow for the 2017 season. Dimlow appeared in 12 games for the Sweets last summer, including one start, and pitched to a 4.15 ERA across 21.2 innings. He struck out 20 and walked only five.
A native of Sammamish, WA, Dimlow traveled more than 2,500 miles to be at Emory, which is located in Druid Hills, GA, just outside Atlanta. But the success of Emory’s program makes it worthwhile for Dimlow to make the trek. The Eagles are a perennial powerhouse in Division III. They qualify for the DIII World Series nearly every year and even reached the national championship game in 2015. Thanks in large part to Dimlow’s mastery on the mound, Emory is currently ranked as the top team in Division III by D3baseball.com.
“In Division III baseball, there isn’t a better program than Emory,” said Dimlow. “Every year, the expectation is to compete for the national championship.”
Dimlow began his college career with a sterling freshman campaign that saw him earn South Region Rookie of the Year by posting a 6-2 record across 10 games with a 3.47 ERA and 42 strikeouts in 57.0 innings. He was a second team all-conference selection, which is no small feat for a first-year.
This season, however, Dimlow appears to have taken several steps forward. He’s started three games and has yet to allow an earned run. The 6-foot-4 right-hander is 2-0 with 10 hits allowed in 22 innings. He’s struck out 30 and walked only two opposing batters. Of course, his ERA is a flat 0.00. Make no mistake, Emory is ranked as highly as they are thanks in large part to Dimlow’s prowess.
“I’m a pretty strong competitor,” said Dimlow. “I’ve always been good about playing up to my level of competition. My competitiveness has been a big factor in my ability to adapt to pitching against better and better hitters.”
Still, when making the jump from even the highest levels of Division III to the West Coast League, there is an inevitable learning curve.
“The talent I saw on any given night in the WCL was at a level I had never seen,” Dimlow said. “I quickly learned that complacency was unacceptable against that level of talent. [WCL hitters] are really good and they do not let a single mistake go unpunished. Pitching in the WCL is exhausting because you literally cannot take a single pitch off. The average WCL hitter is bigger and more athletic than the average DIII hitter.”
To combat these challenges, Dimlow is trying to grow bigger and more athletic himself.
“The thing I want to improve most in my game is strength,” he said. “By getting bigger, I think my velocity and stamina will improve.”
Clearly, the adjustments Dimlow made during the offseason have paid off. Emory is already reaping the rewards of his hard work and dedication, and soon, the Sweets will be beneficiaries as well.
Off the field, Dimlow has a robust personal and social life. While Division III baseball is certainly competitive, it does not demand quite the same amount of time commitment as Division I programs do. Aside from its top-level baseball program, Emory’s excellent academic reputation attracted Dimlow.
“I know that someday baseball will end and I want to be in the best position possible at that point to be successful however I can,” said Dimlow, who is majoring in business.
“I have a life aside from baseball here. My greatest sense of fulfillment comes from balance of baseball, academics, and social life. At school, I’m involved in my fraternity, Sigma Alpha Epsilon. Forging relationships outside of the team has been very rewarding.”
Dimlow’s well-roundedness and maturity will carry him far, both on the baseball field and after his playing career is over. Fortunately, he has a few more years before he has to worry about quote-unquote “real life.” He’s looking forward to another summer in Walla Walla.
“I don’t really take myself too seriously, and I actively attempt to keep things weird. Baseball is a weird game, baseball players are weird people, and the 30ish guys that make it the duration of the summer will be together for three months straight. To some, that might mean cabin fever, but to me it’s the perfect recipe to keep the game fun and loose,” Dimlow said.
Prior to Emory, Dimlow starred for four years at Eastside Catholic HS in Sammamish. He was named to the All-Seattle Metro Area First Team and First Team All-State his senior year when he set Eastside Catholic’s single-season strikeout record, punching out 92 in 66 innings while maintaining a 1.69 ERA and a 10-1 record.