The hits just keep on coming for the California baseball team, as the Bears struck with another commit – their second in less than 10 days – in the person of 2015 two-way star Tanner Dodson.
The 6-foot-2, 175-pounder out of Carmichael (Calif.) Jesuit hit .350 last season as a switch hitter for the Marauders, while sporting a nifty 1.30 ERA on the mound. He will play both ways for Cal, after spurning scholarship offers from the likes of Oregon, Cal Poly, Utah and UC Santa Barbara to stay close to home and play for pitching coach Mike Neu, who’s made a habit of pulling in two-way stars like Lucas Erceg. Unlike Erceg, though, Dodson plays outfield, and not a corner infield spot.
The Bears were the third school to offer Dodson, and did so in the fall, while the rest of his suitors offered after his junior season.
The fact that Neu identified Dodson early made a big impression on the two-way star, and it was one of the factors that had Cal in front when decision time came.
“Definitely. Other schools jumped in later, but I was already deciding. I felt like I knew where I wanted to go,” Dodson said.
Dodson now becomes the fourth Cal commit to have been named all-tournament in last month’s Nor Cal World Series, following Jeremiah Burks of Vacaville (Calif.) Will C. Wood, Stockton (Calif.) St. Mary’s shortstop Ripken Reyes and All-Tournament Underclass selection Rogelio Reyes.
Dodson has actually played with Ripken Reyes before, way back in eighth grade, and the two were of course together last month at the NorCal World Series.
“I’m pretty good friends with Ripken Reyes. He’s committed [to Cal], and we talked a little bit,” Dodson said. “I used to play baseball with him back in eighth grade. He didn’t really tell me much about Cal [at the World Series], because I’d been talking to him for a while. He just kind of encouraged me and said he really wanted me to go there.”
He becomes the sixth commit for the 2015 class, including Burks, Reyes, Ty Greene of San Diego (Calif.) St. Augustine, Jeffrey Mitchell of Pleasant Hill (Calif.) College Park and Kasey Wallace of Pinole Valley.
Dodson topped out at 92 mph with his fastball at the NorCal World Series, and also features a slider, curveball and change up, though his breaking pitches are his bread-and-butter, particularly his slider, which has hard downward bite to it.
Dodson said he tries to keep his curveball at a 12-6, but it gets a little loose upon occasion.
Learning from Neu – a former Major League reliever and College World Series champion closer -- was one of the big attractions, along with the rest of the coaching staff.
“I really liked the coaches there a lot more than most schools,” Dodson said. “It’s close to home, but it’s not too close to home, so I like that, too.”
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