PORTSMOUTH — Playing the game of baseball is something that Ricky Deeble takes great pride in doing.
After all, when your family is considered to be the premier baseball family for an entire nation, why wouldn’t you take great pride in that?
Deeble — a native of Gold Coast, Australia — will follow older brother Jye in pitching for a four-year American baseball program at the collegiate level as Deeble, who went to GateWay Community College in Phoenix, Ariz., will pitch inside the Shawnee State baseball program for the 2021 season on forward.
“It means a lot to have the opportunity to keep playing at the next level,” Deeble said. “I’m very excited to continue my baseball career as well as studying toward my future profession.”
Born into a prolific baseball family, Deeble’s father Jon has had such an impact on the game of baseball in the Deeble’s home country of Australia that he holds the title of “Mr. Baseball” by his fellow peers in the sport.
Well, consider these accomplishments:
Jon was the pitcher on the mound when Australia defeated Canada at the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, South Korea for the country’s first-ever victory in Olympic competition from a baseball standpoint.
In 2004, Jon was the head coach for Australia at the Olympic Games in Athens, Greece.
That 2004 unit won six consecutive games at one point and defeated Japan twice en route to an Olympic Silver Medal.
After winning an Australian Baseball League (ABL) championship with the Melbourne Monarchs in 1993, Deeble coached in the minor league systems for the Miami Marlins and the Boston Red Sox — then spent 15 seasons as coordinator of scouting for the Pacific Rim Region for Boston before moving on to the Los Angeles Dodgers’ franchise.
All of those above accomplishments are certainly pretty significant — and ones that the youngest Deeble doesn’t take lightly.
“I was born into the game,” Deeble said. “My grandfather, my Dad, my uncle, my cousin and brother all have played or currently play. I just went along with my brother (Jye) until I was actually old enough to start playing.”
A 6-0, 170-pounder who throws left like his father and brother, Ricky — with a fastball that reaches up to the mid-80s in velocity and a curveball and changeup that he can also throw for strikes — had strong measureables. ]
For Deeble, it was simply getting the right eyes in front of him.
In that aspect, Jye proved to be especially huge for Deeble and his prospects at playing the game of baseball at the collegiate level.
“My brother played at (Central Arizona College), and knew the coaches and a few of the players at GateWay,” Deeble said. “He told me to message them and send the coach (Rob Shabansky) video, so I did that, and he pretty much said, ‘We’ll take you.’”
Over his two seasons at GateWay, Deeble threw a total of 28-and-two-thirds innings with the Geckos.
With 14 punchouts in those 28-and-two-thirds, Deeble showcased the ability to obtain the strikeout.
“It was a great experience,” Deeble said of playing at GateWay. “Everybody was really nice and helped each other out. The coaching staff was really good at helping us make adjustments to get better. It was in a tough conference to play in because everyone was so good, so you had to put the work in every day to win games.”
His potential at GateWay made Deeble a commodity for Shawnee State, who quickly picked him up thanks to the quick work of assistant baseball coach Casey Claflin.
“Basically, I just posted a video to a Twitter account called Flatground,” Deeble said. “(Casey) Claflin messaged me after he saw it, we talked for a bit, and after talking to him, the decision was easy to come to Shawnee State.”
Now, he wants to bring the same success that his family’s had in Australia, and around the globe, to the Mid-South Conference and NAIA ranks.
The future exercise science major is certainly in a good position to succeed with a supportive environment backing him at SSU — and his older brother less than two-and-a-half hours down the road at NCAA Division I Eastern Kentucky to boot.
“I want to try and help bring a national title to SSU,” Deeble said. “Academically, I want to graduate with an exercise science degree.”
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