That Dora team won just nine games and was nowhere near the postseason.
Three years later, Criswell helped the Bulldogs back to the state playoffs for the first time since the 2007 season and he also earned a chance to play at the next level.
Criswell capped his high school career on Tuesday, signing a letter-of-intent with Huntingdon College, a Division III school located in Montgomery.
Not bad, considering the start of his Dora career.
“That first year, my freshman year, was really bad, but we learned from those tough times and became a better team,” Criswell said. “Hopefully we’ve started a trend that carries on for a few years.”
Dora finished this season 23-13 and advanced to the first round of the state playoffs, losing to Oneonta on the road.
Dora baseball coach Bret Andrews said Criswell was a big part of the Bulldogs’ success.
“He’s got great speed and power at the plate,” Andrews said. “He scored a lot of runs for us. He’s going to be missed. He’s almost a guaranteed triple when he gets on base. He can steal second and third very easily.
“He has such great work ethic that I know he will be successful. He’ll go above and beyond — he always has. Each one of our seniors brought unique characteristics to the team. He’s no different. I’m really thankful that I had the chance to coach him.”
Criswell has started for Dora the last four years. “I enjoyed playing for Coach Andrews all four years,” Criswell said. “I know we had some rough times when I first got here, but I really enjoyed my last year. We came together as a team. Our pitching did well and we made the playoffs for the first time.”
Criswell joins a Huntingdon College program that has been successful under head coach D.J. Conville. The team went 30-12 in 2012.
“I went and visited with them back in January,” Criswell said. “I liked the chemistry I had with the players. I liked the campus and they also offer my major — sports management.”
Criswell, who played third base at Dora this season, will play wherever he is needed for the Hawks.
“I just want to play my freshman year. Coach (Conville) said that he will find a way to get me on the field. He will find me a spot to play,” Criswell said. “I want to play whatever role coach Conville wants me to play, whether he wants me to run the bases, play defense or get in there and get down a bunt. I want to help any way I can.”
Huntingdon is leaving the Gulf South Athletic Conference for the USA South Athletic Conference in 2013. The USA South includes Huntingdon and schools from Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina.