SANTA BARBARA, California — Dillon Dobson, the former Starmount standout and current Appalachian State University standout, is soaking in the sun a bit more as a member of the Santa Barbara Foresters in the California Collegiate League this summer.
Dobson, who made All-Southern Conference at shortstop as a sophomore this past season for the Moutaineers, is being coached by the well-respected Bill Pintard.
Dobson said he was getting over “a little shoulder soreness” during an interview given last Monday, but other than that he was enjoying his summer playing baseball in California.
He said he wanted to work on his arm strength this summer. During his freshman season, he played first base due to an injury to the regular first baseman. “The firstbaseman got hurt and I just jumped in there,” he said. “Taking a year off and playing first base, [though], weakens your arm a little bit.”
It was the first time he had played first base since T-ball, he said.
“It’s a little different perspective,” he said. Dobson said, as a natural shortstop, he felt there were balls a firstbaseman ought to get. After spending a season playing first base, he felt like he a little more insight into the plight of a firstbaseman.
This past season, Dobson returned to shortstop. “It was fun to get back on that side of the field,” he said.
His hitting didn’t suffer while he was changing positions at App State. Dobson said he attributed that to “good coaching. They’ve helped out a lot,” he said. “Especially the mental aspects of hitting.
“And getting lucky every once in a while doesn’t hurt either.”
Dobson is coached by a seasoned staff in Boone, including Head Coach Billy Jones. “I really enjoy being able to work with him,” he said. “He’s been around the game. And he’s got a good relationship with all his players.”
Jones asked Dobson about playing ball in Alaska in the summer fo 2013. He thought it would be “a good spot” for him, but Dobson found being away from home “a little tough.”
Dobson played for the Kenai Peninsula Oilers during the very long days that are an Alaskan summer. “You get to enjoy things a little bit longer out there,” he said. “It’s a neat experience.”
He said he focused on his offense: “putting the ball in play; cutting down on the strikeouts; working each at bat.”
Those were all things Jones has praised Dobson for at App State. “It comes with experience,” Dobson said. “Being able to calm yourself down.”
This summer, the experience is in California where the Foresters recently gave Pintard his 800th career win. “He’s a special coach,” Dobson said. “He takes pride in going out every day and competing.
“He does a great job getting us focused every day.”
Dobson is also involved with community service through the Foresters. One of their service projects is Hugs for Cub, the Foresters’ ongoing “buddy” program for children battling cancer.
He said they have gone bowling with the children and this week, the team will take them surfing.
Dobson’s summer with the Foresters will wrap up at the National Baseball Congress tournament in Wichita, Kansas. The tourney begins August 1 and can run as long as 10 days. With four previous championships, the Foresters are used to playing deep into the tournament.
He then plans to reurn home for a few days before he heads back to the campus in Boone.
How long he will play baseball or how far he will go, he doesn’t know. “I’d love to play as long as I can,” he said. “I feel God’s blessed me with something.”
Dobson said he’d like to put off the “real world” as long as possible. When asked if maybe baseball could be his real world, he replied, “That’s the goal.”
Jim Fuller may be reached at 336-835-1513 or Twitter @elkinareasports.