Tyler Dobson and Nate Oswalt have been playing baseball together for as long as they can remember, so it’s only fitting they’ll continue to do so after high school.
Both received their first scholarship offer this past Saturday following a tryout at Holmes Community College in Goodman, MS. Three days later, the Petal standouts made it official, signing with the Bulldogs with friends and family watching on.
“It’s a huge day for us just having a chance to play at the next level, especially to get to do it together,” said Dobson. “That means a lot having grown up together.”
Dobson was one of the Panthers’ top pitchers and hitters this past season. His 28 innings pitched ranked second on the team, while his .339 batting average was good for fourth.
Exclusively a pitcher, Oswalt finished behind Dobson in innings pitched (20) and second on the team in strikeouts (27). He also picked up a save in the Panthers’ series-clinching win at Oak Grove.
Despite their individual success, no offers were on table. That is until they proved themselves at Holmes’ tryout—where upwards of 50 players were fighting for a very limited number of spots.
“You have to believe in yourself and have the confidence that you’re good enough to make it,” said Dobson. “Coming that late, you kind of get discouraged, but you can’t let it affect your confidence or anything. You have to know that you’re good enough to go play somewhere.”
“It was kind of last minute, but an offers an offer,” added Oswalt.
Their head coach the past four years, Larry Watkins, says the opportunity is well-deserved, adding that he’s thrilled to see them continue their playing careers together.
“You’re going to have good days and bad days,” said Watkins. “At least you’ve got a buddy there with you. They’re good ball players. I think both of them have not reached what they can be.”
Both say they’ll carry a chip on their shoulder heading into the next phase of their career.
“We gotta go up there and work to get better every day,” added Dobson. “Not being the Jones or Pearl River, you kind of have to play with a chip knowing that you’re not the big school.”