Patrick Dockendorf played baseball at Minnesota State as a true freshman, playing in 18 games with 11 starts at third base.
But he batted only .111 with two RBIs.
So he took the unusual route of redshirting as a sophomore, realizing he needed to get bigger, stronger and better.
“It was weird not playing, but I got to watch what the older guys were doing to be successful,” Dockendorf said. “That helped me to know what to do to get better.”
Three seasons later, Dockendorf is a top-10 guy in Minnesota State baseball history, leading his team into today’s opening game of the Central Region tournament. The Mavericks (44-10) take on Regis University (29-21) at 7 p.m. at Mankato’s Franklin Rogers Park.
“I think he needed that (redshirt) year to make some adjustments,” Maverick coach Matt Magers said. “He had a solid year after that, and he’s continued to get better each year. He’s playing a bigger role this year, batting in the 3 hole.”
Dockendorf ranks eighth in program history with 520 games played, which has allowed him to rank high in several offensive categories: second in RBIs (145), fourth in home runs (24), sixth in triples (6), eighth in hits (185), eighth in doubles (32) and ninth in runs (130).
“I feel like I’ve had a good five years here,” Dockendorf said. “We’ve always had good teams, which helps a lot.”
This season, Dockendorf is batting .360 and leading the team with nine home runs and 59 RBIs, nearly double that of his closest teammate.
“We didn’t have a strenuous weight program in high school, so when I got here, the weight program really helped me,” Dockendorf said. “It helps a lot of the young guys when they get here.”
Magers said that in 2010, in the championship game of the conference tournament, he was trying to put together his best offensive lineup. Eventually, he moved Dockendorf into left field, his only game in the outfield, and he helped the Mavericks win that game.
“We needed to get his bat in there,” Magers said.
By winning that game, Minnesota State stayed on track to win the regional and advanced to the College World Series. Dockendorf, and the other veterans, know the reward the Mavericks could get by winning this weekend, playing the region tournament in town.
“It would mean a lot to get back,” he said. “That was a lot of fun, even though we went 0-2. It would be nice to get back and hopefully do better so everybody who wasn’t on the team then could have a good experience.”
— Follow the action from today’s game of the Central Region baseball tournament between Minnesota State and Regis University by linking to Chad Courrier’s live chat at www.mankatofreepress.com. Game time is scheduled for 7 p.m., with the live chat beginning about 6:45 p.m.