High School Sports

Rules quirk keeps Loris’ Dozier from rewriting state record book

Loris High School’s Desmond Dozier (right) steals second base as the ball bounces away from Wade Hampton’s Eric Mulligan two years ago. The senior’s pursuit of a new state record was derailed last month, the result of a little-known rule.
Loris High School’s Desmond Dozier (right) steals second base as the ball bounces away from Wade Hampton’s Eric Mulligan two years ago. The senior’s pursuit of a new state record was derailed last month, the result of a little-known rule. The Sun News

A little-known baseball scoring rule was the only thing standing in the way of Loris senior Desmond Dozier breaking a 26-year-old state record.

He’s just fine with having tied it.

During a regular-season loss at Waccamaw on April 19, the speedy center fielder matched the South Carolina High School League (SCHSL) mark for consecutive stolen bases without being thrown out (69), a record that was set by Socastee’s Brody Hendrix in 1990. And while his coaches initially believed he went on to break it last week, Rule 10.07(h) said otherwise.

In that same Waccamaw game in which he tied the record, Dozier was leading off second base when Warriors pitcher Carter Fox wheeled toward second. Had Dozier returned to the bag and been tagged out, his consecutive stolen base mark would have continued. Instead, though, he broke toward third and was put out there.

He was officially scored as being caught stealing.

“It’s a shame that it ended the way it ended,” coach Tim Graham said. “He’s stolen six or seven more since then.”

Said Dozier: “It’s still a great accomplishment. It’s something to look up to.”

The rule is frequently misunderstood, and certainly often inaccurately recorded by high-school scorekeepers, and often for good reason. For instance, in the situation that broke the streak, the official rules credit the catcher with throwing out the runner despite the fact that he never touched the ball on the play.

Even though Dozier didn’t re-set the record because of it, his impact on the bases has not been erased.

He gets a really good jump now. When he gets a good jump, nobody has a chance against him. Most of the time when he gets a bad jump, they don’t.

Loris baseball coach Tim Graham

He successfully stole his last eight attempts as sophomore and then was 30-for-30 last year, This season, he snagged the first 31 before the pickoff play at Waccamaw. Graham submitted to The Sun News the same statistical proof he intends to send to the SCHSL this week. Upon verification, Dozier will join the Palmetto’s Finest Record Book.

“It was almost overwhelming at first,” Dozier said. “I didn’t even know about it.”

Dozier, who also pitches in for the Loris track team and was a Toast of the Coast honoree from The Sun News in that sport, also put his speed to use on the football field. He was a Toast defensive selection on the gridiron last fall after piling up 51 tackles, an interception and a fumble recovery, and recorded 954 total yards and eight touchdowns offensively. He’s signed to continue his football career at NCAA Division II Johnson C. Smith in Charlotte. That school does not have a baseball team, so assuming he doesn’t have a change of plans, his baseball career may end after this season.

Still, Dozier’s legacy on the diamond will continue on after his graduation.

While he said he has been clocked as fast as 4.3 seconds in the 40-yard dash, his proficiency on the bases is about more than that, Graham said.

“He’s really improved his instincts even from last year. He was just pure speed,” Graham said. “He gets a really good jump now. When he gets a good jump, nobody has a chance against him. Most of the time when he gets a bad jump, they don’t.”

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