HENDERSON — Caleb Dameron doesn’t have an imposing size, but no doubt opposing teams take notice when the Prairie View senior heads to the plate.
It’s hard not to notice Dameron, mainly due to his speed. He is considered by many the top base-runner in the state, and his stats back it up. The senior center fielder broke the state record for stolen bases in a season Saturday after picking up his 24th stolen base.
“I have to be a sparkplug,” Dameron said. “I have to get on base, get the fuse going and light the bomb.”
Even before the centerfielder gets on base, opposing coaches shout at their team to be aware of Dameron. Rangeview coach Mike Hamilton told his players that if Dameron gets on base, he’s going.
“He has been a steady player for us all year,” Prairie View coach Tim Cardenas said. “Speed is something that you can’t coach, but he is so much more than that now. He is an all-state center fielder and can hit the ball too.”
To go with his 24 stolen bases, Dameron is hitting .508 with 16 runs and 24 hits. But stealing bases is his specialty. He has had a stolen base in 13 of Prairie View’s 19 regular-season games, including six in which he had multiple stolen bases. He even picked up four steals against Aurora Central April 10. It wasn’t until his dad looked at the state record book that he realized he had a chance to make history.
“I’ve always been second or third, but I wanted to be that first guy,” Dameron said. “I was happy being at the top, but I kept getting more and more and I wanted that record.”
Dameron has always been quick, but as he has gained experience he has matured as a base-runner.
“There is so much going on with stealing a base. And when I was younger, I don’t think I used my speed to my advantage,” the senior said. “These last couple of years, I have learned what type of ballplayer I really am and how important it is to get on base.”
His base-running is a big reason wahy Prairie View is returning to the playoffs and he showed how dangerous he is during Friday’s game against Rangeview. The ThunderHawks fell behind 5-1, but Dameron sparked a rally in the fifth. He got on base with a bunt, and two batters later he scored from second to cut the lead to three. He also added a two-run double in the sixth. Prairie View won 8-7 to seal its playoff berth. While Dameron had several chances to break the state record, getting the win was far more important.
“All that mattered was the playoff berth,” Dameron said. “I didn’t care about the record.”
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