Bakersfield College Freshman centerfielder Konner Dodge received the highest defensive honor that a baseball player can receive at the community college level when he was named to the 2017 American Baseball Coaches Association/Rawlings Gold Glove Pacific Association Division Team.
"It's a very big honor," Coach Tim Painton said, "He was one of three outfielders chosen out of every junior college on the West Coast. It's something that has been presented to the National Junior College Athletic Association, and we are now being included in the national picture because we are in the same pool as Oregon, Washington, and Arizona."
Dodge was voted on in progressively larger groupings, including region and state level votes before becoming the first Renegade to earn the Gold Glove distinction.
"Over our 40 game season, Konnor made 88 putouts and three assists in 91 chances and no errors. And he was somewhat new to the outfield coming in to BC. He was a high school shortstop," Painton explained, "it was a c and athleticism. By the time our season started, he took a firm grasp and just made plays."
Perhaps none so thrilling than a uniquely athletic chance he took with the bases loaded and two outs in the seventh inning of game BC needed to win in LA Valley, with a razor thin 2-1 lead and Valley's #3 hitter Garrett Oullette strolling to the plate.
"He (Oullette) lines the ball into center, and if it gets down-which it does on most defenders-they are scoring and probably taking the lead. But Konner makes this kind of...lateral dive into left-center, he was just fearless, and he changes the entire momentum of the game," Painton said.
BC would go on to explode for eight runs in the next two innings for the 9-1 road win.
"He gets great reads on fly balls, great jumps, runs great routes. And it's a new postition to him and he's only going to get better. Most great ballclubs have solid defense up the middle, from catcher right on up through centerfield. You can't win being strong up the middle, especially in that position. So it's pretty amazing to have a freshman win this honor," Painton said.