Recruiting Thursday: Hempfield Area's Firmstone to play at Penn State

The Spartans junior was recruited as a pitcher by the Nittany Lions

Thu Feb 01, 2024 - 4:37PM

Jack Ridenour Jack Ridenour

Last Updated: Thu Feb 01, 2024 - 4:39PM

To pitch or to hit…that is the question.

For Dylan Firmstone, that question has been answered for his future in college baseball. The rising senior for Hempfield Area recently made his commitment to play baseball at Penn State.

“It feels good to have that stress-free feeling,” said the soon-to-be Nittany Lion. “Being able to go out and play ball like you used to will be nice.”

He’s been a standout for the Spartans as a two-way player. He batted .382 last year with a team-best 21 hits. Firmstone also had a 2.92 ERA in five relief appearances, striking out 11 batters in 12 innings, allowing 11 hits and just four walks.

But, his position at the next level has already been decided.

“I was recruited as a pitcher,” he added. “I love to hit, but I’m going to do what they have me do and see how the cookie crumbles.”

It didn’t take long for Firmstone to buy into what head coach Mike Gambino is preaching in Happy Valley. Gambino wants players to see his vision, and Firmstone is willing to pay that price with how much he trusts his future coach.

The idea of college ball didn’t occur to Firmstone until he entered high school. His freshman year was an eye-opening time, as coaches were telling him he was capable of playing Division I baseball.

It wasn’t just talent that drew the eyes of college coaches to Firmstone, but also playing on the travel circuit.

“My travel team, Flood City Elite, does a really good job with me in the summer,” he noted. “I got invited to a showcase down in Georgia this summer. I represented the Pennsylvania team and pitched.

“There were a lot of scouts and I got some good exposure. That’s where Penn State eventually saw me.”

With his college decision made, he can now lock in to his final year of high school baseball. The Spartans finished last year 11-10 overall and 8-7 in Section 2-6A.

After a 9-3 start, Hempfield tumbled through the rest of the season and dropped six of its final eight games. The Spartans qualified for the playoffs, but had a quarterfinals exit to Pine-Richland 14-12.

“We have a really good team,” he mentioned. “The team chemistry we have is really tight. We came in as the underdogs and started off strong."

After the unfortunate end to the 2023 season, Firmstone is hopeful for a bounce-back year with his Spartans.

“We have a lot of guys coming back from last year,” he shared. “We’ve had an amazing offseason - guys are working hard in the weight room and everyone is bonding. We can’t come out too high and just play at our level and I think we will be just fine.”

As he gears up for one more year playing in the Spartan blue, he is excited for what’s on the horizon at his next school. He knows there is still unfinished business, but is eager to wear a new shade of blue.

“I’m really excited for the environment,” he discussed. “My brother is going to college up there too, so getting to see him and Penn State has always been in my mind. I just really like it up there.”