Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Star Watch on the Mound or at Plate, Shaler's Dobson Produces

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Star Watch on the Mound or at Plate, Shaler's Dobson Produces

Article excerpt

The road leading up to the hilltop field where Shaler plays its softball games is lined with signs for each of the Titans' section, WPIAL and PIAA championships.

Led by senior pitcher Bri Dobson, perhaps the best all-around player in the WPIAL, this Shaler team's goal is to add at least a couple more of those signs.

The Titans enter the WPIAL playoffs as one of the favorites in Class AAAA after starting the season 17-0, and Dobson is a major reason why. She came into this week 17-1 with a 0.86 ERA and 86 strikeouts on the mound, but that's not all. Dobson also has been one of the top hitters around with a .508 average, 9 home runs and 42 RBIs.

"It's been awesome. It's great because I get to end on this kind of note," said Dobson, who smiled at the notion of being the WPIAL's top player when combining both halves of the game. "I never really thought about that. Now that I think about it, it feels good. But I don't know. I always think there's someone out there better than me, so I try to get better than them."

Dobson burst onto the scene as a freshman and has been an all-section pick each season of her career. As a sophomore, she helped Shaler win its third WPIAL title. Last year, she was hampered by injuries that limited her on the mound, and the Titans reached the PIAA playoffs but fell short of a repeat WPIAL crown.

Now, they're thinking big again. Shaler's first loss came last week to section-rival North Allegheny, a 1-0 defeat in which Dobson's one mistake was allowing a solo homer. While Dobson's strikeout total is impressive, she's more of a finesse pitcher who relies on her teammates to make plays.

"She's location, location, location," coach Skip Palmer said after practice Monday. "We have a very, very good defense, and she puts the ball where we want it to be so our defense can play the ball. …

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