Photo courtesy of Megan Dortich
By Iman Lathan
Even at a young age, Nevada softball pitcher Megan Dortch mirrored her father, Dwight Dortch, in his resilience.
Dwight Dortch was more than her dad at the start of her softball career — he was also her coach.
It was the middle of July in Las Vegas. Megan Dortch was 13 years old and was pitching for her travel softball team — the Reno Diamonds. The sun was anything but kind on that particular day with a temperature in the triple digits. The young softball team had gone through four cases of water in the dugout that game as pure exhaustion was beginning to reveal its ugly face. Megan Dortch stood on the mound. She was struggling to find a good pitch, and her father noticed. The long day of the games along with the sun had beaten her up. He walked out onto the field to give his daughter his regular pep talk. The young pitcher locked a gaze with her father and saw what he was trying to do. Fighting her father’s helpful gesture, the young pitcher put her hand in the air, stopping her dad in his tracks.
“Stop. I got this,” Megan Dortch said.
Dwight Dortch trusted the young athlete’s judgment and returned to the dugout. Megan Dortch went on to finish the game strong and went up to her father after with a wide grin on her face.
“See, I told you so.”
Junior Megan Dortch, always had a considerable amount of respect on the Nevada campus and in the Reno area following her success at Bishop Manogue High School and a solid collegiate sophomore season, in which she saw 24 starts and struck out 89 batters. However, this season, she has proved to be a true star on the mound when she provided the Wolf Pack softball program its sixth no-hitter in program history in its sweep over New Mexico at the end of March. Megan Dortch has rightfully earned the reputation of being considered one of the Wolf Pack’s top pitchers.
Five nights out of every week on Socrates Drive in Reno, Dwight and Megan Dortch – the dynamic father-daughter duo — could be found in their backyard, perfecting the young pitcher’s craft. Dwight Dortch would be crouched down at the receiving end of every throw the budding star threw his way, as she worked the pitching mound that the family had in their yard.
“(She) and her father were in the backyard pitching for 8 years straight,” said Julie Dortch, Megan’s mother.
Dwight and Megan Dortch have always been very close. Ever since she was born, the two had a bond tied by their common interest in athletics. That bond transferred over to other aspects of the two lives, which explains why they are so similar today.
“Everything we do is the same from the things we like and the things we do,” Dwight Dortch said.
The Dortch duo does nearly everything together ranging from training and pitching lessons to their adventures scuba diving in the deep blue seas of Belize and Cancún.
The Reno native’s success on the field did not come from thin air. It is rooted in her great upbringing. Megan Dortch grew up in a household in which she was regularly exposed to the strong drive and work ethic of her father, which led to those qualities being diffused onto the young athlete.
“My dad and I are exactly alike in everything we do,” Megan Dortch concurs with her father.
Dwight Dortch has played multiple, behind-the-scenes roles, which have kept the city of Reno alive and kicking. In addition to being a devoted family man, he is also committed to serving Reno with his work on the city council, on which he has served for the last eight years.
“We set the direction for the city ranging from setting the budget to managing new businesses,” Dwight Dortch said.
One of the seven members elected to make policy decisions for the Reno city government, he specifically represents north and northeast Reno. His office position is viewed with a humble eye by the Dortch family.
“It is like his extra-curricular activity. Like how I play sports for fun, that’s what he does for fun,” Megan Dortch said.
His role in directing the city is met with a number of other occupations that have also played a large role for the city of Reno and reflects his drive and focus. The family man has also done work with Reno’s minor league baseball teams. He was the General Manger for the Reno Silver Socks from 2004-2007 and assisted in getting Reno Aces started with his position as Director of Cooperate Sponsorships from 2007-2009. Currently, he owns his own business consulting firm in Reno called the Automotive Compliance Consultants Incorporated, which works with car dealerships in assisting them to stay compliant with state and federal laws.
Her father also planted the seeds for her interest and passion in softball beginning from when she was one week old when the two attended a Giants vs. Cubs game, and he regularly took her to Wolf Pack baseball games growing up.
“Her dad is a big influence on her. He always pushed her and was straight-up with her,” said Ryan Galvev, a long-time family friend.
The two have developed a unique and unbreakable bond. The Wolf Pack star acquired several paralleling character traits as her father — qualities which Julie Dortch identify as hard-working, loyal, and stubborn. Their stubbornness is a reflection of their determination and strong will to attain success.
“They are very close,” Julie Dortch said. “She has always been able to talk to him and be open with him. They are connected at the hip.”
The Dortch household believes strongly in being a good, honest and kind people. They aim to breed individuals prepared to tackle the world. As Megan Dortch continues to make her mark with the Wolf Pack and gets closer to obtaining her degree in community health sciences to work in dentistry, her success can be credited to her family and the tireless hours her father invested in her. Softball is simply the apparatus that helps her to express all that she represents.
“Softball is who I am,” Megan Dortch said. “It has helped me in knowing to work hard in order to get something you want — you just have to get it.”
Iman Lathan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.