BOONVILLE - Teammates on the diamond since they were six-years-old, Starmount seniors Dillon Dobson and Alex Barr will continue that trend in the collegiate ranks.
Dobson, a star shortstop, and Barr, a standout on the mound, officially signed their letters of intent to play baseball at Appalachian State University.
The two will head to Boone together.
“We have played together since we were six and have been best friends growing up; it’s going to be nice to play four more years together,” Dobson explained.
Dobson finished his junior campaign as the Rams’ second-leading hitter with a .362 batting average, trailing only then-senior Jake Barr’s .405 average, while racking up 29 hits, 22 RBIs, eight homeruns, six doubles and scoring 27 runs.
He was solid in the field at shortstop, compiling a .888 fielding percentage, while throwing out 18 runners, including starting six double-plays.
Dobson decided on Appalachian after turning down offers from UNC-Greensboro and UNC-Wilmington.
“The coaching staff was really nice and I felt like they wanted me; it’s a nice place to be,” he said.
Starmount head coach Mike McCann said he noticed the potential in Dobson when he was in middle school.
“I knew Dillon had the potential to play at the next level when I first saw him play as an eighth-grader at West Yadkin,” he explained. “He came up here and became the starting shortstop the day he stepped on campus as a freshman. When he was playing, people would ask me what grade he was in, and when I told him he was just a freshman, they wouldn’t believe me. Then it happened again when was a sophomore and again when he was junior and they said ‘You have him for one more year?’ and I said, ‘I have him for one more year.’”
Barr was the ace of the Rams’ pitching staff last season, tallying a team-high 14 appearances, while accumulating an 8-2 record as a junior.
He finished with a team-leading 1.96 ERA, .118 batting average against, while striking out an impressive 107 batters in 64.1 innings pitched.
Barr was a force at the plate as well, finishing with a .293 batting average, 22 hits, five doubles, two triples, while driving in 17 runners.
The lefty turned down offers from Western Carolina and UNC-Greensboro when he made up his mind to become a Mountaineer.
“When I went up there it really felt like home; it just felt right,” he stated.
McCann said Barr really became a college prospect during his postseason run last season.
“Alex really came into his own last year as a junior. Towards the end of his sophomore year he showed some great moments, but he really picked it up during his juinor season,” he said. “He got stronger as the year went and became our starter for our last couple games - he was just doing so well so we rode him as long as we could. A lot people were able to see him and were impressed.”
The Starmount duo will look to help a rebuilding Appalachian club that finished last season with a 33-27 record on the year, including a 15-15 mark in the Southern Conference, and will join six other recruits in Boone.
According to GoASU.com, Barr is ranked by Baseball Impact as one of North Carolina’s top 50 players with a fastball in the 90s, while Dobson is one of the North Carolina’s top 25 players in the same rankings.
Mountaineer head coach Chris Pollard is confident in the incoming class.
“Once again, we feel like we have signed one of the best classes in the state of North Carolina and the Southern Conference,” Pollard said to GoASU.com. “These are eight talented young men that will represent Appalachian well on the field, in the classroom and in the community.”
Dobson and Barr will join Starmount teammate Dillon Bray in the SoCon, who signed his letter of intent to play at Western Carolina, App’s most fierce rival.
“I look forward to playing against him, being able to know someone when we play them. We’ll be playing for bragging rights,” Dobson said laughing.
The trio of Division I players on Starmount’s roster impressed even McCann.
“It’s awesome. I don’t know too many 2A programs with that many Division I players on their team. To have one, yes, but to have three…that says a lot about our program and I’m very fortunate to have that kind of talent on my team,” he said. “I’m not going to take the credit by any means, I get out there and work them and try and point them in the right direction, but that’s a lot of God-given talent that I’ve been blessed with on my team. It’s going to be a joy to watch them play this season.
“I’ve been here since 1998, and this is the first time since I’ve been here that we’ve had three players sign onto a Division I program at one time. We’ve had a lot of good players come through Starmount High School, but I don’t think we’ve ever had three Division I players at one time. I’m really looking forward to this upcoming season. With some hard work and a little bit of luck, I think we can ‘win us a couple games,’” McCann said.