Home News Demir Heidelberg steps into spotlight for H-F

Demir Heidelberg steps into spotlight for H-F

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Last spring, Homewood-Flossmoor’s Demir Heidelberg was the fresh new face on a veteran team.

At that time, Heidelberg was a sophomore infielder/outfielder in a lineup that offered up a ton of senior talent including Dillon Head, who would be a first-round draft pick of the San Diego Padres.

Now?

“It’s kind of crazy because the world has kind of changed,” he said. “Last year, I was one of the guys with no experience and everyone else had a lot of experience.”

It was quite an experience for Heidelberg, who heads into the next stage of his junior season after already committing to Eastern Michigan. He returns with the most innings played for the Vikings.

“He is the only guy on our roster who played significant varsity time last year,” first-year H-F coach Marcus Rodgers said of Heidelberg. “We’re looking at him to lead us a little bit. He’s figuring it out.

“He likes to come and do his work. He’s not too vocal. We’re trying to get him to be a vocal leader. He’s been all for it.”

Heidelberg has had a loud bat to start the season, hitting .400 with a team-high seven runs and three doubles for H-F (4-1). He’s tied for the team lead with Nick Calomino with six RBIs.

Hitting has always been a strength for Heidelberg as far back as when Rodgers coached him in fifth grade.

“He always worked hard and he always had that talent,” Rodgers said. “Those hands of his always worked. He has grown into his body. He can throw it, he can pick it and he can definitely hit it.”

And Heidelberg has been an influence off the field as well, according to teammate Tori Chaney.

“He brings the hype to the team,” Chaney said. “I’ve known him for a lot of years. He has great energy for sure. And he’s going to be great next year, too.”

Homewood-Flossmoor's Demir Heidelberg works on his swing during practice on Friday, March 22, 2024. (Jeff Vorva / Daily Southtown)
Homewood-Flossmoor’s Demir Heidelberg works on his swing during practice on Friday, March 22, 2024. (Jeff Vorva / Daily Southtown)

The 6-foot-3 Heidelberg said he was tall for his age growing up. But he was never the biggest in an unusually tall class at James Hart Middle School that also featured basketball star Bryce Heard, who earlier this month helped the Vikings win the Class 4A state championship.

Heidelberg developed his physical skills over the years.

“I always had the power,” he said. “I was never a big kid, but I was a lanky, tall guy and had some sneaky power to me. I was never crazy fast, but I got better when I started to run correctly.”

His speed and power brought him some attention.

Despite hitting a modest .263 last spring with the Vikings, Heidelberg’s effort this summer with the White Sox ACE travel team helped attract the attention of Eastern Michigan.

He made a verbal commitment in September to the Division I program.

“They saw me in a travel tournament in Indy and I had a decent game,” Heidelberg said. “There is a video of me on (Prep Baseball Report), and you can see the scouts for my college in the background.”

In 2021, Heidelberg and his ACE teammates played on the Field of Dreams diamond in Dyersville, Iowa as a part of the festivities leading up to the historic game between the White Sox and New York Yankees.

Demir Heidelberg, center, of the White Sox ACE 14U team gets his bat ready before a game against New York's DREAM team at the Field of Dreams site in Dyersville, Iowa on Aug. 11, 2021.

Jose M. Osorio / Chicago Tribune

Demir Heidelberg, middle, gets his bat ready for the White Sox ACE 14U team before a game at the Field of Dreams site in Dyersville, Iowa on Wednesday, Aug. 11, 2021. (Jose M. Osorio / Chicago Tribune)

And more travel is in store for Heidelberg.

This week, the Vikings are scheduled to visit Atlanta to play teams from Ohio, Kentucky, Missouri and Wisconsin to get ready for SouthWest Suburban Blue play.

The Vikings, who finished 19-16 last season, had big expectations for the playoffs after being Brother Rice 10-0 to close out the regular season. The Crusaders went on to finish second in Class 4A, while H-F took a tough 7-6 loss to Andrew at home in a regional semifinal.

Even with the new faces coupled with inexperience, Heidelberg thinks this team is ready for a big spring. He loves his junior class.

“We played with each other freshman year and created a little bond,” he said. “We had a lot of workouts, and after the workouts, we just connected.”

Jeff Vorva is a freelance reporter for the Daily Southtown.



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