SOSA Staff Report
PORTSMOUTH — His humble demeanor off the diamond may not give it away, but when Dakota Dodds steps foot on the mound, he’s a straight bulldog.
Dodds, a senior at Clay, brings an unmatched intensity to the mound each time he’s called upon and, as an innings eater, has made a habit of mowing down opposing lineups.
Now, he’ll have the chance to do the same at the collegiate level.
On April 4, via Twitter, the southpaw announced his commitment to Shawnee State University.
“It’s close to home and I’ve always just dreamed of being a college athlete at Shawnee State,” Dodds said. “My family, coaches and teammates have all pushed me to be a better person and ball player in general. They push me to my limits and never let me down. They are the best support system.”
Last season, the Panthers went 20-9 and captured a share of the SOC I title — the program’s first league banner since 2003. They also won a third straight sectional crown with a 10-3 win over South Webster.
Dodds was a central reason why.
During his junior season, he was 9-2 with a 1.05 ERA and 87 strikeouts through 69 innings. Those numbers allowed him to be the SOC Pitcher of the Year and earn first-team all-district honors.
Now, after graduation, he’ll try and sharpen his skills for an SSU team that was 4-16 before its season was put on hold this spring.
“I’m most looking forward to the competition and the opportunity to grow as a person and a baseball player,” Dodds said. “[The opportunity] means everything to me. I’ve put a lot of time and effort into being better. It also means that I get another chapter of my life to do the thing I love the most, and that’s playing baseball.”