The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Sports

July 15, 2014

Enter the Dragon

Former Edgewood, Mercyhurst North East star headed to Division I Coppin State

Bobby Dragon has long held a dream and for as long as anyone who has known him can remember, the son of Renee and George Dragon has worked toward that dream.

The 2012 Edgewood graduate is taking the next step toward that ultimate goal in transferring from Mercyhurst North East to Coppin State University in Maryland.

“At first, it was hard to believe,” Dragon said. “I thought it was a dream, honestly. I have to thank the Mercyhurst North East coach, Dan Bertolini. When I first went there on a recruiting visit, I told him my goal was to Division I. I wanted to shoot high.

“When I was meeting with coaches and talking with schools, my goal was still Division I, but I told him if I got a good offer (at a smaller-division school), I would take it.”

Never the type of player who drew attention to himself or talked about how good he was, Dragon, even when singled out, was sure to pass credit to those around him. He showed a more confident side to himself when he walked into Coppin State coach Sherman Reed’s office on his recruiting visit.

According to his father, Dragon looked Reed in the eye and said, “Coach, you had two .300 hitters on this team and the rest of the team was in the low .200s. I will hit for you. I will produce.”

Bertolini had seen that confidence grow during Dragon’s time with the Saints.

“That’s really something that came throughout the year,” he said. “He’s a quiet guy. He doesn’t talk about himself a whole lot. Him being a success for us and hitting in the middle of the lineup, I think that helped his confidence.”

True to form, Dragon gave credit to someone else when it came to talk of his confidence.

“I have to say that’s from Coach Bertolini,” he said. “Coming in from Lakeland, I felt I wasn’t getting what I wanted. I loved the people and liked playing at Lakeland, but Coach Bertolini helped my confidence.

“When I first came in, he said there was a lot of individual work we had to do. There were a lot of things he taught me I hadn’t already learned. He would be hitting me ground balls at 6 a.m. or we’d work on hitting. He was the one who really gave me confidence.”

Dragon had good reason to speak up for himself.

“I looked at the stats of all the players,” he said. “I thought I could go in and start. I thought I could compete. If I go in with the attitude I might start, probably won’t end up starting.

“Going in and telling him that will help me push myself to live up to and be what I told him I would be.”

Reed liked hearing those words. But he also liked the complete package Dragon presented.

“It’s typical of freshman coming in from high school, making the jump from high school to college, to tend to be unsure of themselves. For a JUCO guy who had two really good years, Division I isn’t all that daunting. He came across as a very confident guy, a kid who knows what his abilities are.

“It was his toughness. We all know how tough mentally baseball is. A young kid can beat himself up.

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