College coaches expect the Dirtbags to have the best players in the Mid-Atlantic states. Opponents know they’re in for a battle when they see the Dirtbags on the schedule. But most importantly, parents and players expect the Dirtbags to be there for them and help them achieve their dreams, and that’s what fuels General Manager Trey Daly.
“From my standpoint, at the end of the day, when I lay my head down to go to sleep, I’ve put my best foot forward working for this organization, and I’m as satisfied as I can get right now,” Daly said.
What provides the sense of satisfaction, the peace of mind, and ultimately is his purpose, is the daily mission of going to bat for the players within the organization. And to do that, it’s by leaving no stone unturned.
Every spring, Daly takes to the roads of North Carolina. Whether it’s by way of traveling the major interstates, of I-40, I-77, or I-85, or cruising the tobacco lined country backroads, Daly finds a baseball game to attend, sometimes more than one, every day. Having already seen 62 high school teams in a three-week span, the pace Daly takes on travel throughout the Tar Heel State is neck-breaking. But to him its a vital part of his job.
“[I travel] every spring season, to see the high school players in our program play because once those families invest in us, I want to invest in them,” Daly said. “Let them know we’re going to do everything possible to help them.”
Since 2011, Daly has been a part of the Dirtbags organization in some capacity. First as a coach, the East Carolina University graduate knows it takes dedication, hard work, and honesty to succeed in any field, but more so in travel baseball where information is vital.
“My main goal is helping kids get to the next level,” Daly said. “The recruiting process is tough, it’s a very tough process. When you look around, there’s a lot of good baseball players in the country.”
The vastness of the country and the volume of baseball players makes it important families do not go through the recruiting process alone. That’s where the Dirtbags and Daly shine compared to other organizations.
First, a player needs to know where his athletic ability can take him. Daly’s ability to see the amount of prep baseball he does allows the Dirtbags to provide a player and his family with an accurate picture of his skillset.
“I learned early on, you cannot sell a dream to a kid that’s not true,” he said. “You have to be a realist with the kids and tell them exactly how it is.”
Secondly, as Daly has eyes on players north, south, east, and west, he’s an encyclopedia of North Carolina baseball, a resource for college coaches and professional baseball scouts to utilize. If an area scout is recommended a name by a bird dog, Daly can relay supplemental information to the scout. If an Atlantic Coast Conference program needs a left-handed hitting outfielder, they can turn to Daly to fill them in on who in North Carolina may be able to fill their need. Likewise, if a player has a dream school, Daly’s relationships with college coaches can help gather information on how a future depth chart at the college may shape up.
Finally, it’s Daly’s ability to be in the shoes of the player which makes his drive relatable, personable, and sincere.
“I try to put myself in the kids’ position,” said Daly, who was a standout at New Bern. “When I was trying to get to the next level and I had nobody to look to. I kind of put myself in their situation, and want them to know that the Dirtbags and myself have their best interest at heart.
“They have to trust us in this process, because at the end of the day, no matter if it’s Division I, if it’s junior college, professional baseball, wherever the kids land, we want to get them there. You have to surround them with people that’s going to push them to their abilities.”
Champions of the 2016 World Wood Bat Association World Championships, the Dirtbags could coast on their nationally-recognized name and have top players want to be a part of the organization. Players know they will play in the best tournaments, likewise, college recruiters know if there is a marquee event the Dirtbags will be there.
But the same could be said about a handful of organizations. But Daly and the Dirtbags’ attention to the high school season is what makes the organization a cut-above, and truly puts the player first.
“When you have someone like the Dirtbags in your back corner, pushing you, not only in the summer or fall —that’s trying to get them to the next level,” Daly said.
“Brent Haynes (lead player advisor), Ryan Falcon (player development assistant), Andy, and myself, we’re going to get out because we’re invested in you.”