Geoff Dornes, a fourth year Packaging Science major, picked up a bat and ball during the third grade and hasn’t looked back since. The Lancaster, Pa. native has a natural gift of excellent hand-eye coordination, as well as a supportive coach, his father, who brought him to the game. Dornes credits much of his success to his father, who has helped him through the best and worst of times. The expertise his father shared with him helped Dornes to become a better, stronger and more focused player.
“After one terrible tournament my dad looked over and told me, ‘you have two choices. You can come out next game and still be affected by last game and be just as bad, or you can come out and forget about last game, take care of business, and prove you belong,” recalled Dornes. And take care of business he did.
When Dornes arrived at RIT, he had no idea of what was in store for him. In his freshman year, Dornes won the Empire 8 Player of the Year award. Then he won it again in his sophomore year. And once more in his junior year. In 2009, Dornes led the Tigers in runs, hits, doubles and triples. He was named Empire 8 Player of the Week 10 times in his career, and holds RIT records for hits, bases, RBIs and runs scored. All of this success wouldn’t have been possible without RIT head coach Rob Grow, Dornes said. “I will always be grateful to coach Grow here at RIT for giving [me] the opportunity to play college baseball when a lot of people wouldn’t even give me the time of day.”
A natural born athlete, Dornes played soccer, basketball and football growing up. But what makes baseball different from other sports, Dornes believes, is that it is a game of individual battles. “Yes it’s a team sport because all nine guys on the field have to contribute,” Dornes said. “But when you’re batting, it’s just you versus the pitcher. No two pitches are exactly the same, and it requires you to learn from every game and every pitch.”
Being an outfielder, as well as a pitcher, brings on a whole new perspective to the game and a whole lot of responsibility. It takes a certain kind of athlete to be a pitcher — a calm, collected mentality and the ability to brush off each individual loss. Dornes loves the challenge of carrying the weight of the whole game on his shoulders. “I love to be in control. When you’re out there on the mound, it’s all on you. If you pitch well, it’s all you, but if you pitch poorly, it’s [still] all your fault.”
Dornes’ most memorable pitching moment came during the league championship game of his junior year of high school. With his team up by only one run in the last inning, he was called in to relieve their struggling pitcher. Dornes struck out the first three batters he faced to retire the side and seal the victory. To make the victory even sweeter, the win was in front of over 1,000 people and a television audience.
As his senior year winds down at RIT, Dornes said he’s just trying to soak it in and enjoy it the best he can. He hopes to begin a career in Packaging Science after he graduates, as well as continue to play baseball.
As a pitcher:
- .366 batting average
- 134 at bats, 33 runs, 49 hits
- .493 slugging percentage
- 4-4 record
- 3.10 ERA
- 34 strikeouts