CHESAPEAKE, VA (WTKR)- Baseball isn't easy. Patrick Dudley likes it that way.
"I like that it's such a tough game, that it's not something you can go and just automatically succeed at, you have to work your butt off constantly," he said.
"In the weight room, in the facility working hours and it almost gets to the point where you have to tell him to take breaks sometimes," Dudley's coach, Phillip Kojack, added. "He wants it so bad."
Dudley just wrapped up his freshman season as a pitcher and outfielder at Atlantic Shores. He's been playing baseball since the age of four, but as he hits high school and upper level travel ball, he's starting to see some pretty stiff competition.
"I've been playing against the best kids in the country, so it's gotten a lot tougher," the pitcher noted. "You kind of just fall in love with it more with the adrenaline and pitching in front of a lot of people."
The Seahawks' standout is already a force on the diamond with seemingly limitless potential and plenty of people are noticing. That includes the University of South Carolina, home to one of the country's top college baseball programs. Dudley has verbally committed to the Gamecocks, who offered him a scholarship last fall during his eighth grade year. That was before Patrick had even played an inning of high school baseball.
"The discussion was, 'Patrick, how often does a kid get his dream school offering him a scholarship?,'" Kojack, the head coach at Atlantic Shores, recalled. "Even if it's early, it doesn't matter. It's still a once in a lifetime opportunity."
"It proved to me that all my hard work was paying off and I wasn't just doing it for nothing," Dudley said. "When I got offered from multiple schools and committed, it kind of sets you back and let's you realize I can really do this."
He's on a short list of Class of 2025 players who have already made verbal commitments to college programs. This past season, he joined another rare list, pitching with both hands and hitting from both sides of the plate in the same game.
"Why don't we do this and put you on a short list of not many people in 130 years that have played in a baseball game, pitched both-handed and hit [from] both sides?," Kojack smiled. "It was all for fun."
"I got a hit lefty and I went out there pitching right-handed," Dudley recalled. "I walked the guy, but then I got out of the inning. I switched to left-handed and got out of the inning so it was pretty funny."
Dudley is part of a loaded freshmen class for the Seahawks. The team was a state quarterfinalist in 2022 and coaches and players feel their best years are still probably in front of them. As for Dudley, he'll spend his time focusing on what's right in front of him so it can all add up to reaching his ultimate dream.
"I think everyone's ultimate goal is playing in the MLB. I guess that's kind of what I'm working for" he said. "I definitely want to go to college, get to college first and then after that we'll see what happens."
Our research did not turn up another other high school baseball players who have switch-pitched and switch-hit in the same game. According to switchpitching.blogspot.com, one out of every 22,500 high school baseball players can pitch with both hands.
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