David Alamillo tends to be comfortable almost anywhere you put him on a baseball field.
While finding his greatest success at shortstop, Alamillo played all over in his time at Centennial High School, getting reps in the infield and outfield, and even seeing a surprise run on the mound during an All-Area senior season.
"He ended up being our best pitcher that season and he never even pitched in high school before," Golden Hawk baseball coach Dan Durham said.
Unfortunately, in two years at San Diego State, Alamillo too frequently found himself stuck in the one place he never liked to be during a baseball game. The dugout.
Playing time proved difficult to come by in Alamillo's time with the Aztecs. After playing in less than half of his team's games in 2019, he earned just one start in the first 16 contests of 2020. By the time the coronavirus pandemic brought the year to an end, he'd recorded just six at-bats with no hits.
And with the NCAA allowing spring athletes to retain a year of eligibility from the lost 2020 season, Alamillo's path to the field wasn't getting any clearer. Including its incoming freshman class, SDSU was set to have 56 players on its roster this fall.
“Too many people were coming in," Alamillo said. "Coaches and I discussed and they pretty much said my role would stay the same. And being a baseball player, I want to play every single day instead of a couple starts during the season. I felt it was best for me to go to another school where I can play every day.”
Just days into the transfer process, he believes he found such a school.
After declaring his intentions to find a new home, Alamillo was contacted by Anthony Izzio, the recruiting coordinator at Charleston Southern, a Division-I, Big South program in South Carolina.
Having not felt particularly wanted in his previous stop, Alamillo says he was taken by how enthusiastic Buccaneer coaches were to bringing him onboard. His interest only grew when he was told the team hoped he'd become their everyday shortstop, which he called "the position where I most thrive."
Less than 48 hours after his first conversation with Izzio, Alamillo announced his commitment to the program.
Though he's never been to the campus, which is roughly 2,500 miles from home, Alamillo has known for months that he'd feel at home in South Carolina, taking an immediate shine to the state after he and the Aztecs opened the 2020 season at the Coastal Carolina Tournament in Conway.
“I instantly fell in love with it," he said. "I got back home from the trip and gave my parents a call and I told them that it was a place I definitely would live.”
Now, he'll get that chance. Though COVID-19 could alter his plans, Alamillo hopes to leave Bakersfield on Aug. 13, bringing parents Peter and Wendy along on a cross-country drive to Charleston.
Even if previous seasons didn't produce desired results, Durham believes Alamillo's experience in San Diego will give him clout when he walks into the Buccaneer clubhouse.
"He got some time in and he got some opportunities at San Diego State, and coming from there, he'll have instant credibility," Durham said. "He's a great teammate, very coachable, versatile. He's the type of leader you want."
Having players with such characteristics will likely be critical in fixing a Buccaneer program that's had just two winning seasons since 1989. But with a new coaching staff in place (current head coach Marc MacMillan and most of his assistants took over in 2020), Alamillo is confident he can be a key building block for a team looking to change its fortunes.
"I'm trying to go into that program to create a tradition there," he said. "So it's exciting. I think it's going to be great."