It has been a whirlwind summer for 16-year-old Sage Diehm.
The Skyview High junior went from being an under-the-radar recruit to a Division I commit in a matter of a few days.
Diehm was one of 12 Idaho baseball players selected to participate in the 2013 USA 17-and-under Baseball National Team Identification Series (NTIS) Aug. 22-25 in Cary, N.C.
While at the NTIS, Diehm arranged a visit to the University of North Carolina, where he met with head coach Mike Fox. The Tar Heels liked Diehm’s character and academic resume so much that they went to watch him pitch the following day.
Diehm, a 5-foot-11, 175-pound lefty, pitched five shutout innings with eight strikeouts against the South Texas regional team, and the Tar Heels offered him a scholarship the next day.
“North Carolina has always been one of his favorite programs,” said Bob Diehm, Sage’s father. “He’s loved and admired them, but never thought he’d get a chance to go there.”
Diehm’s stock climbed this summer after he attended the Area Code tryouts at the University of Oregon for the Kansas City Royals. In a few short months, he was inundated with interest from teams such as Mississippi State, N.C. State, Oregon, Oregon State, New Mexico, Texas Tech and Gonzaga.
But once the Tar Heels came around, there wasn’t any other team for Diehm.
“After that campus visit, we just thought is was the right fit,” Sage said. “I would be playing for a top 10 school for coaches who are really genuine guys who know what they are doing. … and their academics is almost unmatched.”
Diehm’s fastball is consistently in the upper 80s and touches between 91 and 92 mph. He also has command of a solid changeup and curveball.
Fox told the Diehm family that based on his research, no Idaho baseball player has ever been on scholarship for the Tar Heels.
“We are all kind of amazed by the whole thing,” Bob said.