Dewrell: ‘I was kind of in shock’

Published 12:02 am Saturday, June 18, 2011

Josh Dewrell said he didn’t believe he was chosen as the Class 4A pitcher of the year. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

Josh Dewrell said when he heard that he’d been selected as this year’s Class 4A pitcher of the year that he couldn’t believe it.

“When (Straughn head baseball) coach (John) Fussell first told me, I was kind of, ‘are you sure it was me?'” Dewrell said. “You don’t ever hear about somebody from around here being selected as the pitcher of the year in 4A. When he told me, I was kind of in shock so to speak.”

Dewrell helped lead the Tigers to a berth in the semifinals, where they fell to UMS-Wright.

This year, Dewrell struck out 119 batters in 91 innings and allowed 39 runs to finish with an 11-3 record and a 1.61 ERA to be the Alabama Sports Writers Association’s top pick on the mound.

Dewrell said staying focused and taking it one game at a time were the keys to his success this season.

“I was just working each and every day to get better,” he said. “At the beginning of the season, my goal wasn’t to be named pitcher of the year. My goal was to do my best, and do my job.”

In addition to fulfilling his role on the mound for Straughn, Dewrell played at shortstop.

Since he was 5 years old, Dewrell has been lending his talents on the baseball field, where he started playing in the county league.

Throughout his 13 years, Dewrell said his granddads — Johnny Dewrell and Lonnie Smith — have been a constant source of encouragement for him.

“They always tell me before the game that ‘you’re the best. Just keep your head high no matter what happens. Just remember that you are good, and that you can win and you can get the job done,'” he said.

Straughn’s playoff run to the semifinals got off to a rough start, where the Tigers fell to St. James in the first game of the first round at home.

Dewrell said the most memorable moment of his senior season came after that first loss to the Trojans.

“We went down to the foul pole line, and talked and prayed,” Dewrell said. “After we lost that first game, we could’ve just said, ‘oh well. It was fun while it lasted.’

“We didn’t,” he said. “We came back, and fought hard and we got the job done. We never lost faith in ourselves.”

The Tigers went on to beat Headland in two games in the second round, and Oak Grove in three games in the third round before falling to UMS-Wright.

Dewrell went through graduation ceremonies last month, and will attend LBWCC on a baseball scholarship.

He said if baseball takes him past his time with the Saints, he’ll stick with it for as far as it takes him.

Dewrell is the son of Mark and Jennifer Dewrell, and has a brother, Johnathon.