Perhaps the best way to describe Brooks Dobson’s attributes as an athlete involves a story unrelated to the baseball diamond.
A couple weekends ago, the Edgewood Academy catcher’s travel ball coach, Tim Cahalane of Central Alabama Prospects, needed help moving his couch. The first person he thought to call was Dobson.
Without hesitation, Dobson pulled his trailer to Cahalane’s residence to help load and move the furniture.
“He’s a throwback kid,” Cahalane said. “If you asked him to plow a field, he’d plow a field. If you asked him to take a truck apart and put it back together, he’d do it. That’s the type of kid he is.”
Dobson’s work ethic and ability to take on whatever is asked of him has translated into an opportunity to play at the next level, as the Edgewood Academy standout signed as a preferred walk-on with Wallace State Hanceville a few weeks ago.
“It’s great, especially under [Wallace State head coach Randy Putman],” Dobson said. “It’ll open many doors for me later on, and I’m really gonna enjoy it.”
Cahalane said only a specific type of player can get the most from Putman’s coaching.
The Lions’ program leader, who’s sent multiple players to the MLB including Chicago Cubs reliever Craig Kimbrel and Detroit Tigers pitcher Derek Holland, demands a certain level of maturity and work ethic from his players.
“He’s a no-nonsense type of coach,” Cahalane said. “There’s not a lot of kids that I would recommend to go and play for him, unless you are the type of kid that Brooks is.”
Dobson and hard work mesh like trading cards and chewing gum.
When he started working with Cahalane a few years ago, his arm wasn’t where it needed to be to throw out baserunners. After six months, he’d added 10 miles per hour in velocity on his throws, the coach said.
Rick Dobson, Brooks’ father, noted the younger Dobson was struggling with strikeouts at the beginning of the season. His production plummeted.
After deep film analysis with Cahalane hitting coach Prince Tolbert, the issue unveiled itself: Dobson had an upswing from hitting fly balls at JV fielding practice. He had to completely retool the muscle memory involved in his swing.
An injury sidelined him in the middle of the season, but he returned April 1 and has been 6-for-15 at the plate since, with five RBIs and three runs scored.
“I want people to understand, Brooks is not a primadonna. He’s not all about himself,” Cahalane said. “But he also works his tail off. Very coachable kid. Very good work ethic.”
On the field, Cahalane said Dobson’s greatest attribute is that he can hit baseballs a long way.
“He may not have shown it during the school year, but he’s got a lot of power,” Cahalane. “Playing with him this past summer and fall, I saw a lot of power. That’s gonna get even better as he goes and plays for coach Putman.”
In addition to Cahalane, Rick Dobson said Prattville coach Chris Puckett was key for developing Brooks’ defensive fundamentals as a catcher.
Dobson’s skills led to the opportunity with Wallace State.
His relationship with Putman and the college’s academics were primary factors in why he chose to sign with the Lions. Dobson plans to major in business entrepreneurship.
“The curriculum for business that I want to take, it fits me perfectly for what I want to do,” Dobson said. “With coach Randy Putman, he’s got over 1,100 wins. Been at Wallace for 32 years. He’s got a great baseball program, sent a lot of guys to the majors. Really knows what he’s doing.”
Dobson will complete his senior season with Edgewood, who earned a bye to the second round of the AISA playoffs by winning its area, before starting at Wallace State next school year.