Dylan Allen: A Hitter They Didn't Want to Face
Sun. June 10, 2012 at 12:00 a.m. | By Solange Reyner
Hitter of the Year: Dylan Allen. Junior, George Jenkins. Allen hit .455 as the team's No. 3 hitter. He also led Jenkins in hits with 35, 10 of them for extra bases. (Photo by Calvin Knight | The Ledger)
By SOLANGE REYNER | THE LEDGER
LAKELAND | Dylan Allen, all 6-foot, 165 pounds of him, put opposing coaches on edge when he came to the plate.
"He's the one kid in the county I didn't want to face," Lake Gibson coach Tom Vibbert said.
"He hits the ball everywhere."
Allen, a lefty shortstop for George Jenkins, hit the ball a lot, too, batting .455 for the season with 35 hits.
He's a workhorse with quick hands, a clutch hitter who is demure about his abilities.
"I still have lots to work on," Allen, a junior, said, "especially with speed."
It's something he'll focus on this summer.
He's ahead of the curve when it comes to hitting, though, and his performance this season at the plate has earned him this year's PolkPreps.com hitter of the year award.
"He was a difficult out all season," Bartow coach Robbie Harris said.
Added Tom Taylor, Auburndale's coach: "He was tough to pitch to."
Of Allen's 35 hits, 10 of them were for extra bases. He was walked intentionally nine times.
His numbers were solid, especially against the better pitchers in the county. The 16-year-old wants to get better, though, and he's got a plan in place to do so.
It involves putting in extra work, lots of it.
"Our training is pretty tough to begin with," Jenkins coach Tom Patton said.
"But he's always out there doing extra everything."
Allen takes extra reps fielding balls after practice, hits batting practice on the weekends and works out at home, too, completing a quick twitch exercise program two or three times a week — one his dad, Chris Allen, a former baseball player at Florida Southern, helped him develop.
This year, Allen also started running sprints in a sand pit off Carter Road, asking teammates to go with him two or three times a week.
"I get fatigued sometimes, but I love to be out there and play," Allen said.
"I like to be active."
Allen was talented as a freshman, too, albeit a bit lankier.
"He was a little guy who had great hands and fundamental skills," Patton said.
"He was late to our tryout, too, and I almost didn't allow him to participate, but he said he heard about it late. Good thing I kept him on."