Published: April 7, 2016
This week’s athlete of the week is Zach Dignam of the baseball team. Dignam has been on fire recently, as he helped contribute to three Royal victories over the course of the last week.
During those games, Dignam totaled 10 hits in 15 at bats, and finished the week with two doubles, a home run, six runs scored, four RBIs and two stolen bases.
The senior outfielder from Bridgewater, New Jersey, was a medical redshirt during his first year. Since then, he has established himself as one of the leaders on the team.
Dignam has played in 95 total games for the Royals, and he will surely finish his collegiate career with more than 100 games played. In his junior year, Dignam’s on-base percentage of .492 led the Landmark Conference.
Q: When did you start playing baseball?
A: Ever since I can remember my dad had me playing in some way. Probably T-ball in around first grade.
Q: Who was your favorite athlete growing up?
A: I’m a Yankees fan, so Derek Jeter. He was so professional on and off the field, and he was someone I looked up to, a hard-nosed player who didn’t show off a lot and was a class act.
Q: How did you end up at The University?
A: Both my parents went here. I didn’t have it on my list at first, but they both had great experiences here. The coaches liked me a lot too, so I knew I would have a good opportunity to play. It’s a great school too, so it was really the best of both worlds.
Q: What are your pre-game rituals?
A: I actually don’t have any, because if I did, I would probably go crazy trying to make sure everything’s right. Baseball is an incredibly superstitious sport, and there are little things I may do during the game, but a pre-game ritual would make me insane.
Q: What was redshirting like?
A: It wasn’t planned, obviously. I got sick with mono freshman year. I played a couple of games, but I was considering doing a five-year MBA program, so I just filled out the paperwork and had the chance to play for a fifth year.
Q: What have you improved the most?
A: I would say I’m a lot better at controlling my emotions. I’m still very energetic and very into the game at each at bat. But I think over the years, and even since this year started, I’ve calmed myself down. I’ve gotten much better at realizing there’s a lot more at bats ahead, so if I strike out or miss a pitch, it’s not the end of the world.
Q: What have you been most proud of so far?
A: Last year we had an awesome finish in the regular season, and we hosted the playoffs, which was huge. Unfortunately, we didn’t finish the deal and we lost to Catholic (University). Still, it was awesome.
The whole year was incredible, especially being with my true senior class.
Q: What do you think about the team’s ceiling this year?
A: I think we can be where we were last year. We definitely have all the pieces to compete for a Landmark Championship. Right now, we’re just focused on this weekend and focused on winning a series at a time. I feel like if we stay on the same track, we’ll be good by the end of the year.
Q: How do you feel about your Yankees this year?
A: They have a hard division, but I think with additions to the bullpen, their experience and a couple new additions to the line up, they can definitely compete in the AL East. Hopefully they do.
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