This article was originally published in the Arcadia Weekly.
Senior outfielder Dustin Allen is a leader on and off the field for the Arcadia Apaches varsity baseball team. Allen leads by example with his play where he led the team with a .410 batting average last year.
“Last season went really well for me, although it started out rough. I struggled at the plate. I had trouble finding myself for the first few games of the season,” Allen said. “Coming out of that was a great learning experience, having to work my way out of that rough patch.”
Allen rebounded in a big way, collecting 34 hits, scoring 28 runs, drawing 13 walks and stealing 13 bases, all team highs. These numbers led to a .495 OBP, second on the team, and a 1.122 OPS, highest on the team.
Allen spends most of his time in the outfield, although he is a strong left-handed reliever as well. Although he struggled his sophomore year on the mound, he found his stride and tossed 33.2 innings without allowing an earned run last year. Allen allowed 14 hits and 10 walks, which combined are less than the 32 batters he struck out.
Allen said the best moment of the season came when the team won league.
“I was on the team the past couple years and it was heartbreaking to lose league in such dramatic fashions,” Allen said. “To win league finally and share the joy with my teammates was pretty awesome.”
In his mind, there was one factor that led to Arcadia grabbing their first league title in more than five years.
“The whole team was really close last year. We had a really good bond with each other that showed on and off the field,” Allen said. “We had each other’s backs and picked each other up.”
Although Arcadia captured league and had a nearly perfect 25-2 record, they fell in the second round of the CIF-SS Division II postseason tournament.
“The ball just didn’t bounce our way that day,” Allen said. “That’s definitely a goal for this season, to correct that, play harder and win the CIF final.”
As far as personal goals go, Allen is mainly focused on getting stronger, bulking up.
“I’m about 175 [pounds] now, but I want to get up to 190,” Allen said.
The added muscle mass would help Allen increase his power behind the plate where he notched six doubles, three triples and two home runs last year.
Allen plans on playing baseball in college, but is not closed to the possibility of going pro out of high school.
“It depends on the spot I’m in draft-wise,” Allen said. “I’m definitely aiming on going to college, but we’ll never know until the time comes.”
Allen plans on studying criminal justice or sports management in college, both careers he could see himself going into and both careers his family has gone into. His grandfather was involved in criminal justice and his father played minor league baseball in the St. Louis Cardinals organization.
Allen aims to play professional baseball like his father, although he would rather play for his favorite team, the Los Angeles Dodgers.
“That would be a dream come true,” he said.