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North Forsyth's Anthony DiMola took a leap forward to establish himself as the Raiders' ace during his junior season. - photo by Ian Frazer

While on the mound in a close late-March region matchup, North Forsyth’s Anthony DiMola was so locked in that he hadn’t even bothered to look at the scoreboard.

When he finally did, even he was a little surprised at how dominant he’d been, especially after how he felt just a few hours earlier.

“I wasn't really feeling great at the beginning of the game and then I kind of looked up at the scoreboard in the sixth inning and it was like, ‘Wow, they only have one hit,’” he said.

DiMola went on to finish a complete game gem against South Forsyth, allowing just that single hit with seven strikeouts over seven frames. Games like that weren’t uncommon for DiMola, either: In his junior season, he firmly established himself as the Raiders’ ace, sporting a 6-2 record, a 1.41 ERA and 84 strikeouts over 64 2/3 innings.

Thanks to improvements to his velocity and control, DiMola became one of the county's top pitchers. - photo by Ian Frazer

Looking back, he’s proud of the type of respect he’s gained from his county peers.

Heading into the 2019 season, DiMola had plenty of goals, including improving his velocity and the location of his pitches. He did both, which gave him the tools he needed to put plenty of hitters away.“I think definitely with success, people notice you and people start to think of you as, ‘Oh, that kid's good.’” DiMola said. “They look at me and say, ‘Oh, we've got to face DiMola next week.’”

“I definitely was throwing harder,” DiMola said. “I was able to hit my spots better and I definitely developed my offspeed pitches, the changeup and the curveball, a lot more. I was able to throw them a lot more effectively and throw them where I wanted to throw them.”

DiMola doesn’t take all the credit for himself, though. Throughout the season, he made sure to listen to what his teammates and coaches had to say about upcoming matchups.

“If I faced a team after Brody (Westbrooks) faced a team, he'd tell me what it's like and what to expect,” DiMola said. “Coach Chris would tell me. That kind of helped. I would have a game plan going into games, knowing how I'd want to pitch to certain guys.”

Thanks in part to DiMola’s performances, North’s 2019 was a mostly successful one, with the Raiders reaching the second round of the state playoffs. Teams have more of an idea of what DiMola’s capable of now, but he’s hoping he can do even more to push his team forward next spring.

“I think we had a great season,” DiMola said. “I had a good season. I had a couple of rough starts but (it was) mostly really good. I think I improved on my season from last year and kind of made a name for myself in the region and the county.

“I definitely want to grow and get better this summer and have a better season next year.”