Southridge baseball star commits to University of Oregon
For 30 to 40 hours per week, Southridge junior pitcher and first baseman Jacob Dodge dedicates his time to baseball.
Dodge has committed to play the sport at the University of Oregon as a first baseman. He's had his eye on becoming an Oregon Duck for years, he told The Times.
"I chose the University of Oregon because I've known coach (Jack) Marder, who is the recruiting coordinator, since I was 12," recalled Dodge.
Dodge was also recruited by other schools, such as Tulane University and Oregon State University. But the junior calls Oregon his "dream school." He added that he has also done his research on the team, and it seems like a good fit for him in the long run. For a diehard ballplayer like Dodge, that fit is crucial.
And just how big of a part does baseball play in Dodge's life?
At 17, Dodge devotes nearly the equivalent of a full-time job in hours spent training, practicing and playing the game every week.
"Everything," Dodge said of how much space baseball takes up for him. "Obviously, you don't want to say it's everything — but it really is. Other than school, it's just baseball, baseball, baseball, and having fun with everybody that I'm doing it with."
Dodge says Southridge baseball head coach Kyle Chamberlain has also been a big help when his schedule gets busy.
Chamberlain describes Dodge as a confident player and a supportive teammate, especially when guiding younger players on the team.
"He does a really good job of taking guys under his wing and letting them know to do things if you want to be successful right now in a high school team, but also in the future," said Chamberlain. "As a teammate, he's great. He's the first one at practice and one of the last ones to leave — just works hard every day to get better."
After every practice, Dodge hits the gym, Chamberlain said. He is always looking to get stronger, faster and better on the field.
"He lives and breathes baseball," he added with a chuckle.
Although the Skyhawks couldn't play ball last spring, thanks to the spring sports schedule being wiped out by the pandemic, Chamberlain says he has still seen Dodge grow since last season, both on and off the field.
"The biggest thing is both the leadership … but also the weight room aspect. He got really strong," noted Chamberlain. "I mean, not that he wasn't strong as a sophomore, but he got bigger, stronger and just more athletic over this offseason by all of those hours in the weight room."
Chamberlain believes Dodge can go as far as he wants with baseball.
"He gets better when he faces good arms, like people with higher velocity, better breaking balls," explained Chamberlain. "So, you can just kind of tell that his competition level is — it's the ceiling. Wherever he wants to go compete, he's going to go compete."
Dodge echoed Chamberlain's statement about his future. Whether that's becoming a coach or turning pro, he plans to do whatever he can to stay in the sport.
The 17-year-old also plans on studying fire sciences to one day become a fireman, if his plans with baseball don't work out.
"When you see the big fire truck and the guys in my suits and stuff as a little kid, you're just like, 'Wow, I want to do that,' so I just kind of decided that that's what I wanted to do," explained Dodge.
Until then, Dodge plans to be a mentor to his younger teammates at Southridge, while waiting for chance to spread his wings as a Duck in Eugene.
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