Meet Your Mallards – Stephen Dodson

Many of us never have the chance to meet our sports heroes. University of Georgia pitcher Stephen Dodson had the chance, but couldn’t do anything about it.

“(Atlanta Braves’ pitcher) John Smoltz’ son plays basketball where I went to high school. He was at a game when I was playing but I couldn’t leave the bench to say ‘Hello’ during the game,” said Dodson. “I admire Smoltz’ poise and he always seems to dominate when he’s on the hill.”

The Norcross, GA. native would like to dominate the Northwoods League this summer. He’s already had reports about the city from someone he trusts: his father. The elder Dodson has been to Madison for business and reported good things to his son about the city.

“I’m really excited. I’ve heard it’s (NWL) a good league and Madison is a fun town.” Dodson’s pitching coach at Georgia, Roger Williams, had previously sent players to the league while the pitching coach at the University of North Carolina. Williams suggested to Dodson that it would be a good league to hone his skills.

This will be Dodson’s first summer baseball experience away from home. He was scheduled to play last summer in Pennsylvania, but he contracted mono.

The redshirt freshman describes himself as a groundball pitcher. “I don’t walk many and I don’t strike out many.”

Dodson says he’s looking to develop a third pitch and get stronger this summer. He’d like to pitch more innings and gain some velocity on his fastball. He’d like to earn a spot in the Mallards’ rotation, too. He’s currently a long reliever at Georgia and is still in the process of getting used to the role.

Dodson may not be in Madison for Opening Night. The Bulldogs are enjoying a fine season.

“We’re on a roll right now (at Georgia). Hopefully we’ll keep it going into the tournament,” said Dodson. “I might be a little late getting there (beacuse of Georgia’s potential NCAA tourney bid), but I’m anxious to play for the Mallards.”