Baseball: Concordia is the 'best place' for Dominic Enbody
About a month ago, when a meteoric run through the state playoffs was merely a dream rather than a fact of history, catcher Dominic Enbody accomplished another aspiration of his — to become a collegiate baseball player.
Sitting at a table in front of friends, family and coaches at Wilsonville High School, Enbody signed his letter of intent to play for the Concordia baseball team.
Before any other school, Concordia showed interest in Enbody.
Following a junior season in which he won Northwest Oregon Conference Offensive Player of the Year honors, Enbody suited up for the Northwest Stars club baseball team last summer. Playing about 50 games with some of the top players in the area, Enbody describes the summer as one of the best of his life.
And during his time with the team, he developed a relationship with Concordia University assistant coach Jeff Bard.
"He helps out with them and saw me play a few times and we've been talking ever since. He was more of a mentor and a friend to me before he was going to be a future coach," Enbody said.
Bard and Concordia head coach Rob Vance envisioned Enbody as a future starting catcher and Enbody reciprocated the interest. So Enbody visited the campus about six months ago, toured the university, sat in on a practice and attended classes.
He was only there for half of a day but says the energy with which the team practiced appealed to him.
"There's a lot of energy and it feeds from the coaches down. They're experienced coaches. They've been doing this for a while and are a great group of guys. They want what's best for their kids," Enbody said.
Enbody waffled longer than most recruits but finally made his decision in May.
"I was second guessing myself a lot and it's a big decision to decide where you are going to be living the next four years and go to school, but I just eventually felt that it was the best place for me," he said.
Concordia recently moved to the Divison II level, finished with a 15-35 record last season and plays in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference.
Vance says the speed of the game and the physicality of opponents — especially those who are approaching their mid-20s — is a considerable adjustment for freshmen. Not to mention, Enbody will compete for playing time at a defensive position that requires leadership as well as mental and emotional maturity.
However, he believes Enbody will assimilate just fine.
"I don't think his learning curve will be that long at all," Vance said. "Dom's athletic. I think he's going to pick it up really fast."
Vance recently watched Enbody smash a "missile" to the outfield in a game and says his offensive talents are appealing but is primarily interested in Enbody's defensive potential.
"He can really hit and he's a good defender. For me personally I want a really good defensive catcher and if he can hit that's an added bonus for us," Vance said.
The Concordia ballpark is spacious and home run adverse. However, Vance expects a player of Enbody's ilk to hit many doubles through the gaps.
"Our park is perfect for guys who hit a lot of doubles. One thing is left-handers (Enbody is left-handed) have an advantage because of the way the wind blows. And he's got a good approach for a high school kid," Vance said.
Enbody added: "Hitting is definitely my strength. I feel so comfortable at the plate. That could be where I make the biggest impact. Obviously I have some work to do behind the plate as well as at the plate. But I think I can contribute offensively for sure."
Vance also says Enbody will be a good personality fit on the team.
"He's a good student, great kid, great family. We try to recruit great baseball players but also really good kids, great teammates who work their tail off. A huge piece for me is to get good kids and I think he really fits that piece," Vance said.
Enbody will likely compete with Kyle Henderson — who was out last season with an injury — for playing time next year. Henderson could be a mentor for Enbody early in his career and the two have already struck up a relationship.
"I talked to him for a long time. We text back and forth. He's a great guy, very mature, lot of experience behind the plate and experience in life," Enbody said.
Because of the rigors of the catcher position and the amount of games Concordia plays, Vance expects Enbody to receive playing time as a hitter and as a catcher next season even if he doesn't start.
"We're excited to have him coming. We think he's going to be a big piece to what we're doing," Vance said.
Enbody plans to major in business administration, noting the degree's practicality, and also received scholarship money from the school.
"I was just looking to go somewhere where the guys have the same goals as me and I could really feel that when I was up there. It's homey, they gave me some money. It's more than I could have asked for," Enbody said.