Colorado State baseball’s Brandon DeLay quietly leads his team to success

Tyler Meguire

Baseball is more than just statistics, especially from a player’s point of view. The love for the game, the reasons they play and the passion are far more important than what statistics can tell you.

Brandon DeLay, senior team president and centerfielder, is having a solid season. DeLay hit a walk-off two-run home run Saturday — a no-doubter. After a slow start, Delay worked on his swing and is reaping the rewards.

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DeLay started playing baseball at ­­­3 years old. He played many sports in high school, but his sophomore year he started to realize he was good at baseball and he should keep playing.

“I grew up playing a bunch of sports,” DeLay said. “It was probably my sophomore year in high school when I decided baseball was what I wanted to focus most of my time in.”

DeLay came to Colorado State University for a couple of reasons, but the idea to come to play for a storied ball club was too good of an opportunity to pass up.

“I came to CSU to play baseball, because I knew CSU was a dominant baseball team,” DeLay said. “We’ve won six national championships, and I wanted to play for a good team. I also wanted to stay in Colorado, and I was accepted in the mechanical engineering department. My dad is also a CSU alum, so he might have influenced me too.”

DeLay was named team president earlier in the season after showing the coaches that he is serious about baseball and that he can lead a team.

I am a lot of things, but the one that I like the most is that I am a baseball player. Brandon DeLay, club baseball president

“It (is) pretty cool to be President,” DeLay said. “I knew there would be a lot of work that came with it. I didn’t realize exactly how much work it was going to be, though.”

Coach Troy Tolar was more than happy to name DeLay team President.

“He’s always been that guy that sets a good example and is just a positive leader,” Tolar said. “He’s not necessarily vocal, but he always leads by example in the way he handles himself at all times.”

Hitting Coach Brett Bogner also commented on DeLay’s silent leadership.

“DeLay’s always kind of been that quiet leader,” Bogner said. “Doing it by example really, he hasn’t really been a rah-rah guy or anything like that.  You really need those guys around the dugout to be those guys that set an example. (He’s) always hustling stuff out, never throwing stuff when something goes wrong. Language isn’t an issue or anything like that. He carries himself like we really want him to, so it’s nice to have a leader like that for all these younger kids we have this year can look up to.”

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DeLay has been wearing the number two on his back for many years.

“I wore number two growing up because of the Rockies’ shortstop at the time, Troy Tulowitzki,” DeLay said. “I switched to number 10 in high school, but went back to number two in college.”

Baseball is sometimes more than just stats. DeLay plays for a personal reason that has nothing to do with what his stat line is on any given night.

“For a long time, baseball (has been) how I identify myself,” DeLay said. “I am a lot of things, but the one that I like the most is that I am a baseball player. Since I was little, I’ve spent most of my weekends at the ballpark. It’s a place where all of my family comes together, and we can forget about everything else that is going on in our lives, and just enjoy the game.”

Brandon DeLay steps up to the bat during the game against the University of Northern Colorado April 18. The Rams beat the Bears 19-7. (Ashley Potts | Collegian)

DeLay has grown as a baseball player and as an individual over the years.

“He came here wanting to compete and came to CSU because we had a good baseball team,” Tolar said. “Every single year he just wants it more and just gets better every year. He works out every day, he does all the right things, he works hard at practice every day and he does everything the right way.”

Coach Kevin McMillan has only been with the team for two years, but has also noticed DeLay’s growth in that short time. 

“Seeing how he’s come the last two years, you can just tell he’s become more comfortable in his leadership role,” McMillan said. “The team goes where (he) takes (them) mentality. He’s really come to accept it and excel in it.”

DeLay has many favorite moments from his baseball career, but there is one moment that sticks out the most. DeLay was at a tournament in Cooperstown, New York when he was twelve.

“It was a huge tournament, and on the final day, my team (the Colorado Bears) played five to seven games in one day because we just kept winning,” DeLay said. “It was an absolute blast and something I will remember forever. Every time we would beat a team, they would go sit on our side of the stands and root for us. By the end of the day, there were hundreds of people cheering for us.”

The CSU coaching staff each have their own favorite memories from DeLay’s college career.

“Last year, it was a tie ballgame and he came up and hit a walk-off bomb,” Tolar said. “It was super late, and it was just a cool moment for everybody.”

McMillan added on to Tolar’s favorite moment with a memory of his own.

“That was a good time,” McMillan said. “I also liked today’s (Saturday) two bombs and two doubles; those were huge.”

DeLay’s parents were the ones who got him involved in sports. They gave him freedom to choose what sports he wanted to play. They pushed him to be active, and it worked out well.

“My parents were good about letting me try all the sports I wanted to,” DeLay said. “They both pushed me to be active. They put me in a really good spot to be successful with whatever I wanted to, and I owe a lot of my success to them. My parents are super supportive of everything I do, especially baseball. They saw that I liked it and that I was good at it, so they did — and still do — everything they can to make sure I continue playing the game I love. They still come to most of my games, and it’s really cool to see them sitting in the stands watching me play.”

DeLay has formed a bond with his fellow teammates: the bond that every player looks for and hopes for when they play with a good team.

“This team is way more than just a group of baseball players,” DeLay said. “We are best friends. We hang out with each other outside of baseball every day and I will have some lifelong friends from this team.”

Brandon DeLay rounds third during the game against the University of Northern Colorado April 18. The Rams beat the Bears 19-7. (Ashley Potts | Collegian)

Part of what makes him a great player is the ability to listen and do what the coaches tell him to do. Being coachable is a great trait that not everybody has.

“He’s really coachable,” Bogner said. “Ever since he got here he’s always curious about what he can do better. We worked a lot on his swing, and right now you’re starting to see those results really come through. (He’s) just a real coachable kid, and that’s going to translate to him in his life, as well when he goes off to work and everything.”

DeLay has big future plans for himself after he graduates. He plans on traveling and hopes to start a career soon after that.

“After graduation, I plan to travel around Europe for a few months,” DeLay said. “When I get back, I’d like to start a career somewhere near Denver in a company that does additive manufacturing.”

However, before he graduates and travels the world, DeLay has a major goal for himself.

“I still haven’t won a National Championship,” DeLay said. “One of my future goals is to get to Holly Springs and win one before I graduate.”

The coaching staff thinks that DeLay is vital to the team’s success.

“Just gonna be a great dude,” Bogner said. “Great guy on and off the field. Really enjoy having him around for sure.”

McMillan had high praise for DeLay as well.

“He’s pretty much the heart of the team,” McMillan said. “We’re not going to go anywhere without him.”

Tyler Meguire can be reached at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @TMeguire.