Prior to the start of the 2013 season, Webster University baseball coach Bill Kurich planned on using senior pitcher Steven Dooley as an everyday reliever. But the emergence of senior Jason Gray — who has given up 1 earned run in 21 innings pitched this season — allowed Kurich to move Dooley to a starting role.
The move has worked out well for Dooley, as his 7-2 record and 2.62 ERA attest. Dooley, a right-hander, has started 10 games for the Gorloks and has pitched a team-high 65 1/3 innings. He has 51 strikeouts against 17 walks for a 3-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
“I wanted my senior year to be my best year,” Dooley said. “I wanted to end on a good note. Last year was pretty good, but there were quite a few things I knew I needed to work on. I needed to get my walks down; I wanted to have a better ERA. I’ve just been really concentrating on basically trying to be perfect with every pitch.”
Dooley has shined the brightest against the Gorloks’ stiffest competition. When Webster played No. 1-ranked Wheaton College (Mass.) on March 10, Dooley threw a complete game and allowed just 1 unearned run, as the Gorloks won 10-1.
Five days later, Dooley and Webster faced Marietta College (Ohio), the No. 2-ranked team in the country. Dooley pitched 8 2/3 innings and allowed 2 unearned runs, as Webster won 3-2 in 10 innings.
After starting the season with two straight losses, Dooley has won seven times in his past nine appearances. He has allowed 1 earned run or fewer in half of his 10 starts.
Dooley has been the ace of a Webster pitching staff that has a 2.82 team ERA. The Gorloks are 29-7 overall and 20-1 in St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play.
“The (Best Male Athlete) award — it could not go to a better young man,” Kurich said. “Just in terms of things he does in the classroom, things he does off the field, the type of leadership he brings — it’s awesome to see him win an award like this. He certainly deserves it.
“I’m sure he’s going to rack up a few more awards this year, conference-wise and hopefully region-wise. He’s one of the best. He’s one of my favorites.”
Runner-up: Jason Gray, baseball
Click HERE to view The Journal’s pick for ‘Best Female Athlete’