Near the end of his first season at Texas A&M – Corpus Christi, pitcher Jacob Dorris talked to baseball head coach Scott Malone and pitching coach Marty Smith about his upcoming experience in the Northwoods League (NWL) on the La Crosse Loggers. The coaches told him to take the last couple of weeks of the season off and get ready to pitch in one of the toughest collegiate leagues in the nation.
Having an up-and-down year in his first season of college baseball, Dorris had to find his game again in the NWL as part of the Loggers, and do so a long way from home.
The incoming sophomore has gone beyond expectations, with one of the highlights of his summer coming on July 31, with his effort in a combined no-hitter on Tuesday night against the Madison Mallards.
After starting pitcher Jesse Holiday pitched the first seven innings without surrendering a hit, Dorris was given the ball for the final two frames. Staked to a 10-0 lead, Dorris opened both the eighth and ninth innings by walking a batter, but he would go on to record the next three outs in each to preserve just the second no-hitter in La Crosse history.
"It was an exciting experience," said Dorris. "The game wasn't close as far as the score goes, but it was just fun to pick up our pitcher who played so well all day. It was fun to be a part of history, but my main concern was to come into the game and take care of our starter."
For the Islanders reliever, it was perhaps the most memorable game amid a memorable season in the summer league. Already named an NWL All-Star, Dorris leads the league with 71 strikeouts against just 21 walks and sports a 2.49 ERA in 47 innings over 21 appearances. In the all-star game, he pitched one inning and fanned two-of-three batters faced from the North Division team.
"It's been a great summer," said Dorris. "I came up here, learned a lot and got to pitch a lot of innings. It is a great league; there are excellent players on all of the teams, and good quality hitters all around. The stats are great, but I was not here to worry about stats, just here to learn and get better everyday."
With the summer season drawing to a close, Dorris has his sights set on the upcoming school year, fall ball and eventually the 2013 Islanders season. The experiences over the summer have helped him improve, and he looks forward to the challenge ahead of him.
"This summer and pitching in this league was about really developing myself as ballplayer," said Dorris. "It's a great experience. A good summer makes coming back easier, but I know there is no carryover effect.
"It is a completely different season, and I need to do what helped me up here. I was excited that I had the opportunity to come here and play well. It's been great, but I know the hard work has to carry over into the new season to help our team be successful."
The last day of the season for Dorris and the Loggers is scheduled for Aug. 12 against Green Bay. After the conclusion of NWL play, he will return to Corpus Christi for the start of the fall semester, and will begin working with his Islanders teammates once again.
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