Dylan Hall had no intentions of leaving Virginia Tech. He signed with the Hokies out of Mountain View High School and pitched in 34 games over two seasons. He felt his roster spot was safe.
But in the fall, Hall said the new Virginia Tech coaching staff told him they no longer had room for him. Head coach John Szefc, who was hired last June 9, was bringing in in new players and there wasn’t enough playing time to spread around.
The news shocked Hall.
“I made 10 starts my sophomore year and was looking to build off that,” Hall said. “It caught me off guard.”
Realizing he had no future at Virginia Tech, the 6-foot-5 right-hander put his name in the transfer portal. Some other Division I programs expressed interest, but if Hall transferred to one of them he’d have to sit out the spring season.
Hall turned his attention instead to Division II programs. Hall was unfamiliar with Central Oklahoma when the coaches reached out to him via email. But after doing research on the program, he decided the school was the best fit for him.
Under fourth-year head coach John Martin, the Broncos featured a successful program that has qualified for three straight Division II Tournaments. Another selling point was the opportunity to join two Division I transfers as possible starters in the weekend rotation: junior Spencer Van Scoyoc from Arizona State who was a 19th round pick out of high school by Toronto and senior Gabe Littlejim from Kansas State.
In need of a confidence boost after leaving Virginia Tech, Hall stepped in and became Central Oklahoma’s No. 1 starter after Van Scoyoc was injured. Hall ended up earning first team all-Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association and second-team all-region honors, while setting a school record for single season strikeouts (123) for a team that reached the Division II Tournament. Suffice to say, Hall felt good about his decision.
“This was big for me to get in a new environment, start fresh and get back to basics,” said Hall, who finished the season 8-4 with a 3.22 ERA.
After throwing 106.1 innings, Hall will take the summer from playing and focus on conditioning and weightlifting to build up his strength and increase the velocity on his fastball. Although he’s draft eligible this year, Hall said his best chances for selection will come as a senior in 2020.
“I want to get stronger and attract the scouts,” said Hall.
Even though he was a newcomer who enrolled in January, Hall said he appreciated the Central Oklahoma coaching staff allowing him the freedom to call his own pitches. That move underscored the trust they had in him and reminded him why he was in a better place.
“This helped me as a player and a person to not take anything for granted,” Hall said.