Swinging on a Dream: Titus Dumitru’s Journey Continues at LBCC
For Linn-Benton baseball player Titus Dumitru his luck came in the form of an unexpected text message. After graduating high school in 2021, Dumitru, like most high schoolers, didn’t know much about his future or what he wanted to do. What he did know was that he loved the game of baseball and wanted to keep playing at any cost.
He received one offer to play at a small Division II university in North Dakota. Not entirely thrilled by the notion, Dumitru started to realize that his childhood dream of playing Division I baseball might be coming to an end.
When an unexpected text from a former teammate appeared, it opened a door of opportunity. An opportunity to play baseball for former Oregon State infielder and Head Coach Andy Peterson at Linn-Benton Community College. It didn’t take much convincing for Dumitru to enroll, and take a chance on himself to chase his dream.
As fate would have it, the following season Dumitru played an integral part in helping the Roadrunners win their first Northwest Athletic Conference Championship since the 1990-91 season. That summer, Dumitru added to his trophy case, helping the Corvallis Knights, a collegiate summer league team, win their sixth consecutive West Coast League Championship, as one of the only two junior college players on the roster.
Dumitru, a Portland native, comes from a blue-collar family. He attended Barlow High School and competed as a three-sport athlete in football, basketball and baseball. Off the field Dumitru loves wakeboarding, playing golf, and hiking with his friends. Dumitru gives a look inside his love for baseball, what it means to win – and, oh yeah, getting to play Division I baseball.
What was it like where you grew up?
I grew up in a small cul-de-sac. I played wiffle ball and basketball with my neighbors every day. That was kind of my childhood. I went to a private Christian school growing up. That’s where I started playing sports. I didn’t really play baseball. I played soccer when I was really young and then turned into basketball. Basketball was my main sport until like seventh, maybe eighth grade. I really started playing baseball in like seventh and eighth grade. I ended up after eighth grade transferring from the Centennial district to the Barlow district to play..
When you were younger, why did you decide to really focus on baseball?
In seventh grade I kind of realized I was pretty good at it for no reason. I was just good at it and I kind of got burned out on basketball. I just decided to focus on baseball and it kind of just took off from there.
How would you describe at this point in your life your relationship with baseball?
It’s my dream and it’s my love. My priorities in this life are God, family, and baseball. Baseball’s my third and baseball’s over everything except family and God. I’ll do anything to play baseball for as long as I possibly can, just because I love it so much. I’m on the field every day and played this long because I’ve been dedicated this long just because I love it.
What’s your favorite part of being able to play the sport that you love?
I love my teammates, but It’s like I’m playing a game for my job, basically, and that’s what I want.
You had a pretty successful season last year as a team and as an individual; you guys won the first NWAC title in decades. How does it feel to be a part of something like that?
I was talking to Petey (Andy Peterson) about it the other day. We were ranking our top baseball moments in our lives and winning the NWAC championship was the number-one baseball moment of my life. We talked about winning a championship from day one last year, day one in the fall, it was like we got there and we were wanting to win the NWAC.
A lot of people want to win a championship, but not everyone gets there, what helped you individually the most?
First I think it’s the love of the game. The love of the game makes you want to get better at the game. Second, I grew up and my dad pushed me in everything I did. I grew up with a work ethic. If you’re going to do something, you have to do it all the way. Third, the culture here especially last year, the older guys showed us what it took to win every game, what it took to be a championship team.
Now that you are the older guy, how do you lead the younger guys?
I’m less of a talker. If I see something going wrong, I’ll try to let you know and help you. I’m more of a lead-by-example guy. I try to work harder than everyone around me and everyone I’m competing against.
You’ve recently committed to New Mexico State University, what does that mean to get to see yourself at a Division 1 school.
I’m still starstruck. It’s all happened and it’s been a dream for a really long time, so I’m really thankful to God because I could not have done it without him. It’s a testament to, you know, if you work hard and you do stuff the right way, good things can happen.
I had an offer from the University of Jamestown, which is an NAIA in North Dakota. I was planning on going there. I thought my dream of playing D1 and going and playing professional baseball, that’s probably just over. Then I got a text from Durham (Sundberg) who went to Barlow with me. He asked, “Hey, what are you doing next year?” And I was like, oh, I don’t know really. He’s like, OK, well, cool, my coach is going to call you and you’re going to come here. I went and watched a scrimmage and when I got here I was just like, this is what I want to do. I knew this was the right place for me.
You were a part of the Corvallis Knights this past summer, what was that like?
It was an amazing experience. To win two championships in your freshman year of college, I don’t know if most people can say that. It was a big growing experience when I first got to Corvallis, I kind of struggled. I went 0-15 in my first 15 at bats. We were facing Division 1 guys every day and I had to step up my game.
What’s the dream goal?
The big leagues. For the Dodgers.
What are the Roadrunners team’s goals for the rest of the season?
As a team, let’s just stick with the process, keep working hard, and keep doing the little things. I think a big problem we had, especially at the beginning of the year, was that we would hit well occasionally, I mean we’d pitch well, but a lot of times walks would make us lose games or some silly errors that would lead to runs. We have to keep doing the little things right.
How do you want your time at Linn-Benton to be remembered?
A hard worker. Whatever I do in life, whether it’s baseball or work or family, I want to work the hardest at it.