Baseball Insider: Focus on baseball pays off for Heights junior

Posted Friday, Apr. 04, 2014  comments  Print Reprints
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As a freshman at Fort Worth Arlington Heights, Doak Dozier had no idea what his future would hold in the fall of 2011.

He played baseball and football and had the prospect of becoming the starting quarterback by his junior year.

However, he declined the chance, dropping the sport last fall in favor of baseball so he could focus on the off-season program to prepare for 2014 and his junior season on the diamond.

“Baseball is a game of repetition and we did a lot of that this off-season,” Dozier said. “I got to play in some games and some tournaments and really got to see some live pitching from some good arms and got some reps in the outfield.”

Over the brief off-season between football and baseball as a sophomore, Dozier came to the realization baseball was his future. A winter baseball camp his sophomore year at the University of Texas further cemented that belief.

“I went down there and I was ripping the cover off the ball. I didn’t want to say it to anyone else, but compared to some of the guys out there, including some of the commits to that school, I felt like I could definitely hit with some of those guys and I was in the same ballpark as them.”

It was a tale that was also told on paper.

Dozier has started in every varsity baseball game for Arlington Heights since his freshman year and led his team in home runs, RBIs, stolen bases and runs scored his freshman year and home runs, stolen bases and runs his sophomore year.

Currently, Dozier leads Arlington Heights in stolen bases (18) and runs (20). He maintains a .338 average with two doubles, a triple and a home run.

It was a tough decision to cut football out of his life, he said, as he had been playing since third grade, but it certainly paid off.

Earlier this fall, Dozier committed to play baseball at Stanford, a testament to the hard work he put in on the field and in the classroom.

“He’s definitely focused and it’s definitely helped him putting in that time and effort for baseball,” head coach and teacher Shad Whitely said. “He’s got great grades. He’s one of the best students that I’ve got.”

Dozier is ranked in the top 2.5 percent of his class at Arlington Heights and is a member of the National Honor Society, so naturally, the prestige of Stanford’s academics as well as its baseball program weighed heavily into his decision.

“I went out and took a visit and compared it to the other schools I was interested in and the opportunities that place would open me outside of baseball,” Dozier said. “I felt like it would definitely benefit me in the long run and it would be too tough of an offer to pass up.”

Would all of this come true had Dozier decided to lead the Arlington Heights football team as well? Possibly, but he knew the extra work he put in was worth it when he ripped a single, double and a home run in the first game of the season.

“When you come out in the first tournament relaxed and calm and confident and you tear it up, that’s what you work for,” he said. “That’s what you suffer in the off-season for and put in all the time and effort in the off-season for.”

Milestone victory

With a 9-1 victory over DeSoto on March 28, Mansfield coach Gary Vaughn recorded his 500th career win.

Vaughn has coached for 27 years, the last nine of which have been at the helm of the Tigers.

Mansfield (18-5) is tied for first place in District 7-5A with Midlothian, both sporting 6-1 records in district play.

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