Baseball field like home for New Market’s DeMars
NEW MARKET — Chase DeMars has lived all over the country, but for the current New Market Rebel there’s one place that always feels like home — the baseball field.
“It’s been my home away from home everywhere I go,” DeMars said of the sport. “…I can come out here every day for 10 hours every day and just play. It feels normal wherever you are.”
DeMars is originally from Kansas, but said he moved to Michigan when he was 5 and then Maryland when he was 15.
DeMars said his high school coach in Maryland helped him land at Harford Community College in Bel Air, Maryland.
Harford has had a very good program, and this past season made it to the Junior College World Series, which this year was held in Grand Junction, Colorado.
“It was awesome. That was the best experience of baseball in my entire life so far,” DeMars said. “We played in front of 8,000 fans. … Just the atmosphere — being out there, knowing you’re one of the last teams to play. Playing against the best of the best at that level –it’s fun.”
DeMars hit .358 (78 for 215) this past season at Harford Community College. He had 12 homers, 48 RBIs and 72 runs scored. He also had 22 doubles, six triples and seven stolen bases.
He said that playing at Harford the last two years has been great, and it helped change his game offensively.
“When I went into Harford I was more of a singles, get on base guy. … Now I can drive the gaps, hit for power, hit home runs, which a lot of college scouts like to see,” DeMars said.
Some of those scouts, included the University of South Carolina. DeMars said that South Carolina saw him play in the first tournament of the season, and kept in touch with him throughout the season. By the end of the season, DeMars had committed to playing there next year.
He said he’s looking forward to playing for the NCAA Division I Southeastern Conference school.
“It’s awesome. I’m going to be able to learn from the best to be the best that I can be,” DeMars said. “I wouldn’t want to play anywhere else. My whole family’s down there. My dad’s down there, my uncle, my cousins.”
DeMars said that he comes from a tennis family, and he’s the only who doesn’t play the sport. He said his uncle is a former head tennis coach at South Carolina.
New Market manager Zac Cole said he heard about DeMars after they signed Daulton Weeks to come play for the Rebels this season. Weeks also played for Harford Community College the last two years.
DeMars said it’s nice being on the same team as Weeks again this summer.
“He’s like my brother,” DeMars said. “Me and him have been roommates for almost two years now. I can tell him pretty much anything. …Coming here everyone’s new. You don’t know each other. I could always go to him if I have a problem especially with hitting, because we have the same philosophy with hitting. So it’s nice to be like ‘hey what am I doing wrong? What am I doing right,’ and he can kind of help me out there.”
DeMars has been solid all season for the Rebels. He’s hitting a team-best .364 (20 for 55), which is fourth in the league. He has one homer, eight RBIs and is second in the league with 17 runs scored. He has also drawn six walks and has two stolen bases.
The second baseman has been playing in the lead-off spot all season for the Rebels, something he hasn’t done since high school.
Cole said that DeMars was fine with playing in the lead-off spot, even though it’s not where he has typically played in college. Cole said that DeMars has filled the role well.
“Over the course of a season that leadoff spot could get more at-bats, and so you want one of your best guys to be up there at the top of the order,” Cole said. “…If we’re going to have a guy that gets more at-bats than everybody else Chase isn’t a bad one to be getting them.”
Cole said that DeMars can do a little bit of everything, which should help him at the Division I level. He said he’s very good defensively, he has speed but also has power at the plate.
The Rebels are 8-12, and lead the Valley Baseball League in many offensive categories. The Rebels have a league-best 15 home runs.
DeMars said he thinks the Rebels best baseball is still to come.
“We can be a really good team. We have a lot of guys on this team that are really good. We just got to put it together,” DeMars said. “I think we just got our last guy (this week), so we’re still trying to come together as a team and fully jell. But once we put it together we’ll be scary.”
Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or firstname.lastname@example.org