Kansas State redshirt junior catcher Daniel Dellasega is no stranger to postseason baseball.

Kansas State redshirt junior catcher Daniel Dellasega is no stranger to postseason baseball.
As a four-year letter winner at St. Mary’s-Colgan, Dellasega played in four state tournaments but, when he came to K-State, the Wildcats were not known for baseball prowess.
Now, the 14th-ranked Wildcats (41-16-1) are in the midst of its most historic baseball season in 109 years and will play in their first ever NCAA Regional Tournament.
And Dellasega is basking in the excitement.
“It is good to start building something,” Dellasega said. “We went from the depths when I got here to where we are now and that is great.”
At 2 p.m. today, the second-seeded Wildcats open regional play against No. 3 Xavier (38-19) in the Houston Regional at Reckling Park. The night game features No. 1 Rice (39-15) taking on No. 4 Sam Houston State (36-22).
But, Dellasega, who serves as the No. 2 catcher for the Wildcats, said that it really didn’t matter where the Wildcats went to play this weekend.
“We don’t play against the other team, we play against the game,” Dellasega said. “We really respect everyone but, it didn’t matter where we went for regionals.”
The Wildcats faired well at the 2009 Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship, coming away from the pool-play tournament with a 2-1 record. However, the Cats’ loss to top-seeded Texas proved to be the difference as the Longhorns advanced to the title game and eventually defeated Missouri on Sunday to claim the tournament title.
Earlier in the season, the Wildcats took two games from Texas in Austin during league play.
“We gave the No. 1 national seed two losses at their place and we feel like it really doesn’t matter where we would have gone,” Dellasega said.
He said that the turnaround from baseball obscurity to national ranking took some time and some help.
“We just changed the mentality of the team and it started with just playing as hard as you can,” Dellasega said. “We knew we had the talent all along but, we were just missing something like not being on the same page.”
Although Dellasega’s role with the Wildcats has been limited, he said that he always stays sharp and is ready to play at a moment’s notice.
“It is difficult coming in from high school and playing all the time to this,” Dellasega said. “It is something to where I compete for a job and have to be ready to go anytime.
“You never know, anything can happen at anytime.”
Thus far in 2009, Dellasega is batting .327 in 26 games played. He has 18 hits with a pair of home runs and 15 RBI on the season. Defensively, he carries a .977 fielding percentage with 73 putouts and 11 assists to just two errors.
But, the important thing for Dellasega is that the Wildcats are in a regional tournament playing for the first time in school history.
He said that K-State is quite simply, ready to play.
“Everyone is champing at the bit,” Dellasega said. “It has everyone thinking about it and we are ready to get things going.”
And, confidence is very high with the Wildcats, not that is wouldn’t have been no matter where they were placed.
“We go in every game knowing that we can win,” Dellasega said. “Baseball is a game where crazy things can happen and we are going in with the idea that we can win every game.
“It was a goal to keep moving on and not just getting to a regional, but to go to the World Series.”
Notes: Ironically, the same weekend that Daniel plays in the NCAA Regional, his younger sister Annie, a junior at St. Mary’s-Colgan, will be playing for the Panthers in the Class 2-1A state softball tournament at Trussler Sports Complex in Emporia.
Despite the excitement of the NCAA Regional tournament, Daniel still had his sister close to his thoughts.
“Hopefully, good luck to them and it sounds like they have a pretty good shot,” Daniel said.

Matthew Clark can be reached at matthew.clark@morningsun.net or at 620-231-2600, Ext. 140. Follow Morning Sun sports at twitter.com/mssports.