Sagamore native makes major-league debut

by Laura Bednar

Dominic Canzone has come a long way since his days as a little leaguer running the bases at Sagamore Hills Park. After four years in the minor leagues, he made his major-league debut on July 8 with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Canzone, a Sagamore Hills native, started his journey in tee ball, progressed to coach pitch and Nordonia Hills travel leagues before high school and college. He was a pitcher and position player through high school at Walsh Jesuit; now he plays the outfield and sometimes is the designated hitter.

Canzone’s father, Dave, said a coach from The Ohio State University noticed Canzone during his sophomore year of high school and offered him a scholarship. As a three-year outfielder for the Buckeyes, he made first-team All-Big Ten and third team All-American as a junior, when he batted .345 overall with 16 home runs and 43 RBIs in 73 games.

He was picked in the eighth round of the 2019 draft by the Arizona Diamondbacks and received a $170,000 bonus to sign a pro contract.

Said Dave of his son, “His successes made him want to play more. He plays to be part of the team.”

Canzone played in the minor leagues for the Missoula Osprey and Hillsboro Hops (Class A), Amarillo Sod Poodles (Class AA) and Reno Aces (Class AAA). In 302 minor league games, he had 221 runs, 60 home runs, 41 stolen bases and a batting average of .310.

Former Walsh Jesuit baseball coach Chris Kaczmar was quoted in the Akron Beacon Journal on Canzone’s swing. “He had such whip in his wrists to generate such remarkable power at such a young age. You could see back then he was destined for great things,” he said.

His unique left-handed swing contributed to his hitting ability, which is one of the reasons he was promoted, according to Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo in a Sports Illustrated interview.

In his first big-league game after being called up from Reno, Canzone walked and scored in the 10th inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates. He got his first major-league hit against Atlanta on July 18 and hit his first big-league home run two days later against the Braves.

“Seeing him in the line for the National Anthem brought tears to your eyes,” said his dad.

He added that many fathers from Sagamore and Dominic’s former coaches sent congratulations.

One of Canzone’s games, against the Seattle Mariners, became, as Dave said, a sort of “dress-rehearsal.’’ At the end of July, the Mariners traded a closer to the Diamondbacks for Canzone and two other players.

In 15 games with Arizona, he batted .237 in 38 at-bats. In his debut with Seattle on Aug. 1, Canzone went 1-for-4 with a double and a run scored. ∞

Photo: Canzone rounds the bases as a little leaguer playing at Sagamore Hills Park.

Main Photo: Dominic Canzone made his major league baseball debut with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Photos submitted.