Not many college athletes can say that they’ve broken a record in a program that has stood for over 136 years. However, one Maryville pitcher can boldly proclaim he has.
Wes Dobson, senior pitcher for the Maryville College Scots has broken a record mound. Coming into the season, Dobson trailed the career appearance mark by only four, leaving his entire senior season to catch and surpass the mark.
“At the beginning of the year, I knew I was only four away,” Dobson said. “[Head coach] Paul Henry had told me about it.”
Twelve games in, Dobson managed to surpass the mark, amassing 50 appearances in the Orange and Garnet. He also managed to pick up the win in relief as the Scots defeated Mt. Aloysius, 10-7. However, it wasn’t something he ever though he would do.
“Getting the win and the record in the same game was something that is like coming out of a dream,” the left-hander said. “Plus, I never thought I would get a record in college, anyway. I didn’t get to play a lot in high school, so when I came here, I didn’t expect to play a lot. I just like to play the game. It just happens…I just love to play and didn’t want to quit playing.”
Coming from Cartersville, Georgia, Dobson played for a perennial powerhouse, according to Henry. Playing at such a big school, Dobson didn’t see the playing time that he gets at Maryville College.
“Wes has been absolutely phenomenal. His been our best arm out of the bullpen so far,” Henry said. “I think he even played in the outfield for his high school team and didn’t pitch much. He’s come here, and he’s not a guy that overwhelms everybody with velocity, but he’s a guy that throws strikes…That’s something we’ve desperately been needing. He’s probably been our most important pitcher this year.”
With that importance, comes opportunity. Dobson, now already four past the previous mark of 49, has plenty of time to put the record out of reach with 21 regular season contests left on the schedule.
“We’re going to see how far we can stretch that record out for him,” Henry said. “Hopefully, nobody will break it for a while, for his sake.”
All the more important, the Scots have to focus on Dobson, as well as their other top pitchers, as the pitching squad is much smaller compared to last year. The Scots only have 10 hurlers after three season ending injuries that included two Tommy John surgeries and one Labrum surgery.
“It makes it to where we have no depth,” he said. “Last year,…you could just run people in and out. This year, we can’t do that. We’ve just got to stick them out there and let them go.”
Having fewer men on the mound is something that makes the pitchers work harder. According to Dobson, the pitchers have to see more running in order to keep their arms and body in shape, following the heavy loss from last year.
“We graduated a ton of arms last year,” Henry said. “We tried hard during recruiting to fill the void as best we could, and we brought in a couple quality guys…We are a little behind the 8-ball on the mound, and that’s one reason why Wes is so important…Whether we’re up or whether we’re down, the opponent’s going to be in check when he’s on the mound. It puts your heart at ease as a coach.”
Because of those opportunities, Dobson has had the chance to prove his former teammate wrong.
“I remember when I was a freshman, the senior, A.J. Herron was the guy that broke it,” Dobson said with a smile. “He was always like, ‘Oh, I’m adding on to it so nobody can beat it.’ He was saying I’d never get to it, so it’s kind of cool that I [broke] it.”