Photo by Derrick Mahone
Jonesboro senior Dustin Boggs has earned a reputation as one of the top catchers in Region 4-AAAA.
JONESBORO — Jonesboro coach Dan Maehlman figured he had his starting pitching rotation in tact at the beginning of the season.
The Cardinals coach was going to two-platoon senior pitcher/shortstop Dustin Boggs into the catcher rotation with freshman Juan Tucker.
About a month ago, Maehlman had to alter those plans when Tucker transferred and then Boggs was diagnosed with tendinitis in his arm.
Boggs was instructed not to pitch any more this season, but could still carry out his catching duties.
“After last season, we kind of knew he would have to catch some this season,” Maehlman said. “From the feedback I’ve gotten from other coaches in the region, he might be the best in the region.”
Not bad for a player that hasn’t caught regularly since he played 12-year-old travel ball in Peachtree City.
“I really like catching,” Boggs said. “It is a hard position to play, but I wanted to show the team that I was willing to do whatever it took for us to win.”
The Cardinals are in a battle for the final playoff spot in Region 4-AAAA, which consist of teams from Clayton, Henry and Spalding counties.
While Boggs has taken to his new fulltime regular position, he admits that he still would like to return to the mound some day. Several schools have shown interest in him as either a catcher, pitcher or shortstop.
“It was kind of depressing when I found out that I wasn’t going to be able to pitch anymore this season,” Boggs said. “I didn’t what to risk the career that I have in front of me. I just had to deal with it and play catcher. My teammates have been really great in encouraging me.”
Maehlman said that Boggs “high baseball IQ” has been a strong point in him becoming an all-region caliber catcher.
“He is just a baseball player,” Maehlman said. “I think because he had a high baseball IQ that playing catcher came naturally. To me, the catcher is probably the most important position on the field.”
But Boggs was just a one-sport athlete. Prior to last season, he played basketball at the school. He made the varsity team his junior season was looking at getting some minutes, but decided to quit to concentrate fulltime on baseball.
During that season, the Jonesboro basketball team finished as region runner-up to North Clayton and advanced to the Class AAAA semifinals. Boggs said their is some regret about not sticking with the basketball team.
“I knew I wasn’t going to college to play basketball, but all my friends are on the team,” Boggs said. “It would have been great to be on that team.”
But for now, he is trying to get the Cardinals baseball team in the postseason as he looks towards a college scholarship. He said that Albany State, Truett-McConnell, Samford, Paine and the University of Lynchburg in Virginia have all shown interest.
While he would like to return to the mound, Boggs hasn’t closed the door on catching in college.
“I’m very open to any position,” he said. “For now, I want to get into the playoffs my final season in high school.”