SARASOTA - Team Titus, a new team to travel baseball in Tallahassee, Fla., has an ambitious pitcher- Jason Dodson- who has been diagnosed with Poland Anomaly. Poland’s Syndrome is essentially an underdevelopment of the muscles in one side of the chest, resulting in what appears to be a shrunken arm. Dodson plays for the 16U team in the program and has some incredible skills.
Scouts have mentioned a strong fastball topping out in the mid 80’s, a really good breaking ball, curve ball, and change up. The most impressive aspect in the consolation game for Team Titus on Wednesday was when he fielded two ground balls back to himself and recorded every out the whole inning with a strike out as the last one. Coaches Travis Erven, Carlton Salters and Ross Smith acknowledge that even having the strength to continue playing is remarkable. Dodson doesn’t let his disability hold him back from what he truly loves.
“If he can do it with one hand, imagine what he could do with two,” a fellow teammate, Myles Edwards said.
Having only one functioning arm and being an aspiring professional baseball player, Dodson definitely idolizes a few big leaguers out there. One big leaguer in particular that Lisa Canup, Jason’s mom, pointed out was Jim Abbott. Abbott was a major league pitcher who was missing his right hand. He looks at his situation and knows that if Abbott can make it happen then there’s nothing holding him back. Having a positive attitude is what keeps him in a position to keep playing.
“He looks up to him so much just knowing that someone else made it to where he wants to be,” said Canup.
Growing up Canup’s husband worked with Dodson frequently, but not an abnormal amount. Dodson expressed that his right side is very strong because it has to compensate. Dodson's favorite pitch is the change up. He pitches for his high school team as well as Team Titus, but he feels that the coaching quality is better in travel ball.
“I credit my coaches a ton for just giving me the opportunity and never having any doubt,” Dodson said.
Having coaches, teammates and family who surround him with support is always a push to keep going. At Leon High School, the Tallahassee school that Dodson attends, has bullies as does every other high school. When people start to pick on Dodson the entire baseball team has his back. Canup said the last kid who picked on him had to be escorted by school security to his car when the day was over for fear of him getting hurt by the team. Not only are Dodson’s teammates a motivation to him but he is inspirational to those watching him play.
“When he’s pitching and he fields the ball like that (referencing the two ground ball that were fielded back to him in the last game), yeah it gets you fired up,” said Edwards.
Dodson is a strong, young man pursuing a dream. The confidence he portrays when standing out there on the mound is astonishing. A spirit moves through the crowd as they get fired up to watch how swiftly he goes from throwing to pitching without a moment of hesitation. Dodson has an ability to keep his spirits high, speak with confidence, and play hard- this combination will get him far.