Trevor Candelaria’s last day in a Durango High School baseball uniform was a good one. He worked a 12-pitch at-bat and walked in the bottom of the eighth inning of a regional playoff game against Eagle Valley. He would score from first base on a line drive off the bat of Lawrence Mayberry to send the Demons to a walk-off win and a trip to the regional championship game, a 8-3 loss to Evergreen that ended the Demons’ season. That was in 2015, and Candelaria was only a freshman.
But Candelaria would never wear a Demons uniform again, as he enrolled at Montverde Academy, a private college preparatory school in Florida before his sophomore year.
That move allowed Candelaria, a fourth-generation Durangoan, to play baseball year-round and attend the biggest showcases possible.
Wednesday, Candelaria signed with NCAA Division I Davidson College in North Carolina. He signed at Montverde during a National Signing Day ceremony.
“First and foremost I would like to thank God and my parents for affording me the opportunity to study and play baseball at Montverde Academy,” Candelaria said in an email to The Durango Herald. “Nothing really compares to growing up in Durango, but relocating to central Florida has allowed me to pursue my academic/athletic career in a way that just wasn’t possible in southwest Colorado.”
Candelaria, the son of Beth and Jim Candelaria, is a star outfielder who has been clocked at throwing 95 mph. He is known as an aggressive fielder and equally aggressive hitter with even more upside going into college. He is ranked 69th in the nation as an outfielder, according to renowned baseball scouting service Perfect Game.
He attended Needhman Elementary and Miller Middle School before his freshman year at DHS. He grew up playing youth baseball with Ryan Woolverton as his coach.
“Trevor is one of the most athletic kids to have come out of Durango,” Woolverton said. “His focus and commitment to a high level, year-round baseball program is paying dividends. It is a huge accomplishment to sign at a Division I school, and we are very proud of him and excited to see him play at the next level.”
Candelaria now stands at 6-foot-1, 185 pounds. He had offers from many elite Division I programs, but he chose Davidson for its academics paired with its strong baseball program that reached the NCAA Super Regionals a year ago to go along with a top-25 national ranking.
“Ultimately, that’s why I chose to sign with Davidson,” Candelaria said. “Their top-tier academic reputation and ability to compete for a College World Series title were huge incentives for me. I wanted to find a place that would best prepare me for a professional career both on and off the diamond, so I was very grateful to be presented with that opportunity at Davidson by coach (Dick) Cooke.”
Candelaria still has a spring high school season to play in the fall. He will be joined on the roster by eight other Division I signees with a coaching staff loaded with ex-Major Leaguers and college players.
“With our deep roster and challenging schedule, we are striving to become the number one ranked high school baseball team in the nation at season’s end,” Candelaria said.
Though he will finish his career at Montverde, Candelaria has never forgotten Durango, and he will continue to play with the pride of a Demon.
“I am truly humbled to get the chance to represent the Wildcats next year, and I look forward to wearing my hometown red and white colors across my uniform again,” he said.