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Local People

By Matthew Peaslee

 

Dobnak

Randy Dobnak led the South Park baseball team to a WPIAL title in 2013. Now, he’s hoping to win a World Series with the Minnesota Twins. Along the way, Dobnak played baseball at Division II Alderson Broaddus University in Philippi, W.Va.

Last month, Dobnak was invited back to his collegiate alma mater and had his No. 00 jersey retired during an Alderson Broaddus basketball game. He helped the Battlers win the Great Midwest Athletic Conference title in 2016 and he is the only graduate of the school to play in Major League Baseball.

He pitched in the 2019 playoffs for the Twins and at the beginning of the 2021 season, Dobnak signed a five-year, $9.25 million extension with Minnesota.

Dobnak made national headlines shortly after the Twins signed him from the Utica Unicorns, an independent league team in Michigan, in 2017. To supplement his miniscule income as an independent league pitcher, he drove for ride-sharing services Uber and Lyft while he was back home in the South Hills.

A video featuring Dobnak’s parents, Randy and Jodi, went viral in November when their priceless reactions were caught on film. Their son wrote them a heart-warming letter thanking them for their tireless support of his dream to play baseball at the highest level. As a sign of gratitude, their son paid off the remaining balance of their mortgage.

“I’ve always dreamt about an opportunity to help my parents for everything they’ve done for our family. I’ll never be able to thank ya’ll enough,” Dobnak said.

In 2020, when fans were not allowed to attend games at MLB ballparks, Dobnak returned home to Pittsburgh and started a game against the Pirates. He grew up as a huge Pirates fan and estimates he attended more than 150 games at PNC Park over the years.

He was the winning pitcher against his hometown team on Aug. 5, 2020, a 5-2 win for the Twins. Dobnak went six innings, struck out one batter and only allowed three hits.

His career MLB record is 9-12 with a 4.94 earned run average. He has 77 strikeouts.

Dobnak met his now-wife Aerial while at Alderson Broaddus and the couple now resides in the eastern panhandle of West Virginia.

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