Strong on the mound and off

Striking out heart issues as a child, DeShields knows he can succeed

On the baseball diamond, under stadium lights, the rest of the world becomes a blur. All of the noise is tuned out, nothing else matters besides you and that next pitch.

Whether it’s a curveball, knuckleball or split-finger fastball, that next pitch is all that is significant at this moment in time.

For junior Treston DeShields, standing on the mound always seemed to be how he pictured his future.

With his father being an avid fan of baseball and numerous family members with playing experience, it’s as though the sport runs through the bloodline. His decision to pick up a glove was only natural.

“I’ve been throwing since I was in a high chair,” DeShields said, later noting that he “grew up” on the field.

But his earliest years were not all fun and games. He faced adversity and is now encouraged to persevere in spite of opposition.

DeShields was born with a congenital heart defect called transposition of the greater vessels, which made it increasingly difficult for his heart to pump oxygen.

Doctors at the hospital in which he was born were initially unable to form a diagnosis, so he was sent to UC San Francisco for evaluation. There, all became clear, and it was evident he would need surgery in order to survive.

While doctors said the procedure would be relatively easy to perform and DeShields would be home within a month, there were some children that didn’t make it.

A few of the ones who did experienced long-term effects such as stunted growth, which doctors said he was at risk of having. They also said there was a possibility he would not be able to run or participate in other physical activities.

Despite all odds, DeShields is no longer affected by the condition and is in pristine health, allowing him to shine on the baseball diamond.

But pristine health is not all that is necessary for success in sports; talent is equally important. As DeShields recalls making the transition to playing for a high school team, he sees that the level of competition is much higher.

“During my freshman year, the first couple of times stepping onto the field were nerve-wracking,” he said.

“You play for fun in juniors and Little League but in high school, it seems more serious when you first come out here.”

Even with the higher standards that competing at this level entails, he feels the fun is still there.

Now in the middle of his third year playing for Stagg, DeShields has become accustomed to the environment and settled into his role on the team.

The added pressure he once felt as a young player has minimized.

“At the end of the day, I go home, I eat and I go to sleep so I’ll live,” DeShields said. “It’s more for my enjoyment and leisure.”

Though DeShields has played just about every position, pitching is his favorite as he loves the rush that comes with throwing the ball as fast as possible.

Looking back at his experience as an infant, DeShields believes it was a scarier time for his parents rather than him.

“I don’t remember anything at all, all I know is I have a scar on my chest that tells me it happened,” he said.

Although DeShields has no recollection of the incident, it has instilled a positive outlook within him, one that motivates him to persist despite the challenges that may come.

“Why stop now? I already came this far,” he said.

“It gave me a better idea of what it means to keep moving forward.”