05/06/07 — St. Andrews' Burris wanted Dobbin in her program

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St. Andrews' Burris wanted Dobbin in her program

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on May 6, 2007 2:01 AM

PIKEVILLE -- Liz Burris settled back into her chair and popped in the DVD.

Once she pushed the play button on her remote, the St. Andrews softball coach sat in awe as she watched Charles B. Aycock center fielder Jasmine Dobbin dive for fly balls -- in practice.

Burris immediately telephoned head coach David West.

"Coach, has this girl signed with anyone yet?" asked Burris.

"No," West replied.

"This is the type of kid we want to build our program around," said Burris.

Dobbin wondered if St. Andrews could fulfill her academic needs for pre-med and Spanish. An energetic 17-year-old who plans to become a doctor and specialize in women's health, Dobbin visited the campus and watched the Knights play in-state rival Lees-McRae.

The daughter of Carlos Dobbins and Alissa Dobbin of Pikeville, Jasmine knew she had found a home.

"It just felt comfortable," she said.

Dobbin returned home, talked with West and officially signed a national letter-of-intent with the Division II program.

"When we started talking to St. Andrews and other schools, I told her she needed to look at it from an academic standpoint," said West. "Does the school have what you need academically because softball is really secondary.

"She had difficulty deciding because she was interested in Mount Olive and Charlotte."

Dobbin is the third freshman to sign an NLI with Burris, who just finished her first season at the Carolinas-Virginia Athletics Conference school. St. Andrews compiled a 15-33 record this spring and finished near the bottom of the CVAC.

Burris is confident Dobbin can add a missing dimension to the program.

"Having a player like her, with her qualities, will add to the team," said Burris. "I saw her energy, how she hustles and her strong arm. I really liked her attitude and sometimes you can do more with a person who has a good attitude and talent, than someone who has just talent.

"She is going to bring a lot to the table. It excites me just talking about her."

Dobbin admits she'll have to work hard to play on the collegiate level. She described her game as a "1" and that of the St. Andrews players as a "5." She based the scale on experience --leaving high school to adjust to the college game.

She's aware she'll have to adjust her work load on the softball field to compete for a starting job with the more-experienced players already in place.

"Academics and playing sports, they're excelling in both and I have to work up to that level," said Dobbin.

West said Dobbin's competitiveness attracted Burris' attention as well. He recalled the particular practice Burris watched on DVD.

"Her defense in the outfield is almost imaginary the way she falls out for fly balls," said West. "She owns the outfield, even if it's a foul ball down the line, Jasmine thinks she can go get it out of center field.

"She's just been wonderful."

Dobbin slugged two home runs and batted .340 as a sophomore. Her batting average dipped as a junior since she moved to No. 2 in the lineup and was asked to bunt on several occasions. She amassed a .347 on-base percentage to go along with 14 RBI and three home runs.

A four-year varsity starter, Dobbin is the only player during West's tenure to play on four Class 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference championship teams. She's a two-time all-ECC selection.