SALADO — After committing to play baseball for Sul Ross State University in March, Salado senior Drew Dobbins made it official Tuesday, signing his national letter of intent surrounded by family, friends and teammates.
Following a visit to the campus in Alpine, Dobbins knew it was the school for him when he stepped onto Kokernot Field.
“You’re in right field and it’s just nothing but mountains behind home plate,” he described of enjoying the change in scenery. “I was like, this is neat.
“This is something I want to look at every day.”
While the view may have captivated him, it was the support of his educational goals that he received from the coaching staff that sealed the deal.
Dobbins shared his plans to major in kinesiology to be a chiropractor while on his school trips, but it was the Lobo staff that assured him it could assist in his academic pursuits and help in finding an internship.
“All the other visits didn’t even offer that,” he recalled, “so I kind of started to know that this was probably the one I wanted to go to.”
The Eagles are currently preparing to face Lorena in the Class 4A regional quarterfinals beginning Friday at Mary Hardin-Baylor, a situation Dobbins is familiar with.
As a sophomore, it was Dobbins who took the mound for Salado against Sweeny in the 2016 regional finals.
“When I watched him then and saw the amount of pressure that he could handle, I thought, ‘We might have something here,’” his mother, Anissa said, thinking back on the moment she realized her son could possibly go on to play baseball at the next level.
That game is just one of the many moments that comes to mind for head coach Kreece Cooper as he reflected on the past three years he’s coached Dobbins.
“There’s a bunch of memories because he’s good, he’s real good,” Cooper said, thinking back on Dobbins first two early season starts when he threw no-hitters.
Cooper also recalled last season when Dobbins hit a triple to score some runs against Athens in the area round of playoffs.
“To have a kid like that to coach is unbelievable,” Cooper said.
Sense of character and competition are the two things Dobbins said he’s gotten out of playing for Salado.
“Ever since I stepped on the field as a sophomore, it’s been about winning,” he said. “Ever since then I’ve wanted to win and I hate losing.”
Dobbins’ tee-ball coach, his father Andy, has also seen how baseball over the years has shaped his son’s character.
“Being resilient, mentally tough, being a competitor and helping other kids who need help,” Andy said, “those are the things that he’s gotten, even more so than any baseball accomplishment, that makes me the proudest.”
While his senior season isn’t over yet, Cooper reminds Dobbins that no matter how deep of a playoff run you make in high school, you have to continue to go out and compete.
“It’s a different level, it’s the next level,” Cooper said, “and not everybody gets to say they played college baseball.
“He’ll figure it out and he’ll see getting there that everybody throws a little bit harder, everybody hits a little bit better.”
As graduation approaches, Andy has reminded Dobbins to enjoy every moment of the next chapter.
“You only get to be young like this one time.
“All the thing you want to do, all the dreams you have, just go for them. Absolutely go for it.”
Anissa, who also teaches at Salado, knows how hard her son has worked to make it to this point and just wants him to continue to stay focused.
Dobbins plans to rest his arm and continue to grow as a pitcher before next season but has one main goal for his collegiate career.
“I just want to be the best I can be.
“That’s what I’m shooting for.”