The pinnacle of Drew Dosch's high school baseball career took place at Huntington Park, when he competed in back-to-back Division II state tournaments.
When Dosch returned earlier this month as a third baseman for the Norfolk Tides, he hoped that, as in 2008 and 2009, Huntington Park was a stopover on the way to bigger and better things.
Dosch, a 2010 Canal Winchester graduate, has risen steadily through the Baltimore Orioles' minor-league system the past four years and now stands one call-up away from donning a Major League Baseball uniform.
"I could never have dreamt this," Dosch said. "When I came here in high school, this seemed so far away. Playing in state and then going to college (at Youngstown State), I could never have dreamt of making it this far or playing at this level. It's been an unbelievable ride."
Entering play July 16, Dosch was batting .254 with 20 doubles, six home runs and 30 RBI in 73 games with the Tides.
"I will never be the guy who goes out and hits 40 home runs," Dosch said. "What I can do is control what I can control -- compete in the batter's box, compete defensively, make the plays I can make."
Dosch batted .524 in his Canal Winchester career, during which he was a pitcher and middle infielder. He had eight home runs and 121 RBI and struck out only six times.
As a sophomore in 2008, he had a .514 average with 42 RBI. As a junior, he batted .500 with 47 RBI and was 12-1 with a 1.48 ERA to earn second-team all-state.
"He was the hardest worker in our program," said Jason Vest, Dosch's coach at Canal Winchester. "He developed into a third baseman in college, but you like to put your most athletic guys in the middle of the infield and that's exactly where we needed him. He has a great build for a third baseman (6-foot-2, 200 pounds), but he's the kind of athlete teams can move around and he will have success."
Dosch was first-team all-Horizon League twice in three seasons at Youngstown State. In summer 2012, he made a splash in the Cape Cod Baseball League by leading the Falmouth Commodores in average (.326), home runs (8), RBI (30), runs (23), doubles (13), slugging percentage (.537) and on-base percentage (.377).
But all of Dosch's dreams temporarily appeared to come crashing down May 17, 2013, when he tore the ACL, LCL and hamstring in his right leg while trying to reach first base on a bunt.
"We thought it was the end," said Drew's father, Greg Dosch, a former head coach at Canal Winchester and current assistant.
It was anything but.
Expecting to be drafted in the third, fourth or fifth round, Drew Dosch dropped to the seventh and was picked 219th overall. He opted to forgo his senior season of college and spent the rest of that summer rehabbing in Florida.
He went on to record a club-record 157 hits in 2014 at Class A Delmarva before spending most of the 2015 and 2016 seasons at Class AA Bowie. Dosch started this season there before injuries prompted Class AAA Norfolk to call him up April 19.
The Tides needed another infielder after Alex Castellanos injured a hamstring and Chris Johnson suffered a broken right arm when he was hit by a pitch.
Dosch emphasized that pitching probably is the greatest difference between AA and AAA.
"That was the big adjustment early, trying not to get myself out," he said. "In Double-A, the young guys get outs because they have good stuff. ... Here, guys know how to get outs with what they've got. You might go a series at a time without seeing fastballs. They know how to exploit your weaknesses."
Various scouting reports indicate that if and when Dosch is called up to Baltimore, he might be used in a utility role.
"He has never taken anything for granted," Greg Dosch said. "From a physical standpoint, he has the talent, but the mental capacity from a coachability standpoint has kept him progressing."