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Sylvan Lake Gulls Hank Dodson hitting with confidence

Sylvan Lake Gulls’ catcher Hank Dodson has come into his own.
Sylvan Lake Gulls file photo. (Photo by Ian Gustafson/ Advocate staff)

Sylvan Lake Gulls’ catcher Hank Dodson has come into his own.

After only recording three hits in his first six games, Dodson has contributed 12 hits in his last six.

Most notably, he knocked in five RBIs and the game-winning run in a 7-6 come-from-behind walk-off victory over Moose Jaw a week ago.

The 22-year-old from Greensboro, North Carolina followed that up with a two-homerun performance in an 11-1 win over Brooks last Sunday.

Those two home runs lead the Gulls and his 12 RBIs are second to only Jonah Weisner so far this season.

“I’ve been seeing the ball really well recently,” Dodson told The Advocate.

“I felt like I was hitting the ball really hard to start the summer… I knew they’d eventually start falling and this past week they’ve been really falling for me. It’s been pretty nice.”

During the collegiate season, Dodson suits up for the Utah Tech University Trail Blazers. In 43 games with the Blazers, he contributed 19 RBIs, four home runs, and 26 hits.

His success in the batter’s box he said has always been up and down.

“It’s one of the hardest things to do in all of sports. I’m just trying to stay consistent and not let the stress and the pressure of hitting weigh me down,” he said.

“I’ve just got to stay positive and know that if you work hard you can get out of any slump you may be in.”

Dodson was recruited to the Gulls by teammate Chase Rodriguez who also plays at Utah Tech. This is not only his first time playing in the Western Canadian Baseball League but in Canada.

So far, he’s been loving it.

“I didn’t realize how big baseball could be in this area and it was a really pleasant surprise,” he said.

“It’s a great spot to play baseball… The people are super nice and I just really like it here.”

Dodson hopes to play the game he loves for as long as possible. It’s always been a dream of his to play professionally whether that’s getting drafted to Major League Baseball or playing in the minors.

Dodson got into baseball following in his father’s footsteps who played baseball for years including for the University of Maryland.

“I definitely remember just as soon as I was born he put a bat and a ball in my hand and I just fell in love with it,” he explained.

The Gulls recent play propelled them to the top of the WCBL power rankings and second in the West Division.

Dodson explained he sees something special in this team.

“We’ve got a lot of potential. I think we’re now just scratching the surface with our lineup… Our pitching staff is one of the best I’ve seen and I could see us making a run.”

At the beginning of this week, the Gulls extended a four-game winning streak with a 5-3 win over Fort McMurray. However, on the road Thursday Sylvan Lake was shutout 4-0 in Fort McMurray.

The Gulls rebounded on Friday night with an 8-4 win over the Brooks Bombers.

Dodson did not play but an early lead by Sylvan Lake was too much for Brooks to overcome.

In the batter’s box, Carson Coffield delivered two RBIs hitting one for four at the plate. Meanwhile, Tyler McWillie, Cleary Simpson, Easton Jones, Tyler Johnson, and Shea Bowen each knocked in a run.

Gulls starting pitcher James Brock was solid striking out three in four innings of work. He was replaced by Zac Laird in the top of the fifth after allowing five runs on two hits.

Laird played shutout baseball through two innings striking out three before Nic Naccarato pitched two innings allowing two runs on three hits.

In the ninth inning pitcher Hagan Barcello closed the game with three straight outs.

With the win they improve to 14-6 and will rematch the Bombers at 2:05 p.m. on Sunday at Gulls Stadium before hitting the road next week.

Ian Gustafson

About the Author: Ian Gustafson

Ian began his journalism career as a reporter in Prince Albert, Sask. for the last three years, and was born and raised in Saskatchewan.
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