August 17, 2012

Telegram All-State Baseball: A three-sport star, but baseball's No. 1 on his list

Sam Dexter, the Telegram Athlete of the Year, will give up football and hockey in college.

By Tom Chard tchard@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

click image to enlarge

Sam Dexter hit .460 in his four seasons at Messalonskee, and also was an outstanding shortstop who helped the Eagles capture their first Class A state championship.

Michael G. Seamans/Kennebec Journal

MAINE SUNDAY TELEGRAM ALL-STATE BASEBALL

Ben Wessel, Scarborough, senior, pitcher

Won the John Winkin Award as the top senior in the state and was player of the year in the Telegram League. Led the league in wins (6), batting average (.486), RBI (21), triples (4) and home runs (2). He will play on scholarship at Rhode Island.

Cody Dube, Windham, senior, pitcher

Won the Edson Hadlock Award as the pitcher of the year in the Telegram League. Had five wins and a 0.61 ERA, and led the league in strikeouts with 69 in 57 innings. He will play at Keene State.

Jack Verrill, Marshwood, senior, first base

Verrill batted .386 with seven doubles and a home run, and had a .614 slugging average. As a pitcher, he had a 4-1 record with 30 strikeouts in 30 1/3 innings. He will attend the U.S. Military Academy.

Joe Cronin, Scarborough, senior, shortstop

Led the Telegram League in runs scored (22), steals (19) and walks (20). He hit . 357 and was one of the team's top pitchers. He will play at Boston College.

Sam Dexter, Messalonskee, senior, shortstop

The Maine Sunday Telegram athlete of the year, he was a four-year starter and had a career average of .460. He was the KVAC player of the year in football, hockey and baseball. He will play at USM.

Travis St. Pierre, Messalonskee, senior, third base

Hit .416 and led his team in RBI and excelled defensively while helping the Eagles win the Class A state championship.

Pete Stauber, Greely, senior, catcher

Made only one error and threw out 40 percent of base stealers. Hit .302 with 12 RBI. He will play baseball at USM.

Mike Leeman, Greely, senior, outfield

Hit .444 and was 24 for 24 in stolen bases. Finished with a 4-1 record and a 0.28 ERA, with 50 strikeouts in 32 innings. He plans to play at USM.

Grayson Beressi, Falmouth, senior, outfield

A catalyst for the Class B state champions, he hit .400 with a home run and four doubles while playing outstanding defense in center field.

Corbin Hyde, Lewiston, senior, outfield

Hit .455 with 20 RBI, a .795 slugging percentage and a .603 on-base percentage. Had a 5-1 record with a 0.64 ERA and struck out 70 in 46 innings. He will attend Endicott College.

Louie DiStasio, Cheverus, senior, utility

A repeat All-State selection as a pitcher/shortstop, DiStasio hit .404, scored 16 runs and stole 15 bases. He was 5-3 with a 0.85 ERA. He will attend Rhode Island.

Luke Fernandes, Marshwood, senior, utility

A pitcher/shortstop, Fernandes was the state's Gatorade Player of the Year. He batted .400 with 17 RBI, and had four wins with 55 strikeouts in 332/3 innings. He will play at Boston College. 

Coach of the Year

Kevin Winship, Falmouth

In his third season with the Yachtsmen, Winship directed his team to its first Class B state championship.

Sam Dexter will play in the Lobster Bowl on Saturday. It likely will be his last football game; he'll play baseball at the University of Southern Maine.

Dexter, the Maine Sunday Telegram Athlete of the Year, was also a standout in football and hockey at Messalonskee High in Oakland. He was named player of the year in all three sports by the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference.

"I will miss football and hockey," said Dexter. "But I have a little more love of baseball than the other sports. I want to take it as far as I can."

Dexter called Messalonskee's Class A state championship "a storybook ending."

"I had a blast with the guys I was able to play with, especially my little brother," said Dexter. "I hadn't been on any championship teams in high school until this one. I could tell it was pretty special."

The Eagles were 5-5 after losses on consecutive days to Brunswick and Brewer. A team meeting after those losses started the turnaround that led to the school's first Class A title.

"Coach (Ray) Bernier asked the players what we should do differently," said Dexter. "He asked what the coaches should do differently. Everyone kind of vented. We said what we needed to say and cleared the air. I think the thing that came out of it was everyone understanding their roles and that we were going to play as team. Everyone bought in."

Messalonskee finished with 10 straight wins and beat Scarborough 6-3 for the state title. Dexter made a play at shortstop in the state final that symbolized his four seasons. He dove and caught a hard smash in the hole in the fifth inning, recovered and tossed to his brother, Jake, at second to start a double play.

While others raved about the play, Bernier said it was one of many such plays he watched Dexter make in four seasons.

"I've seen Sam make those plays for his entire career," he said. "He's the type of player who has the intangibles to move to the next level and beyond."

Dexter finished his four seasons with a .460 average.

Dexter's father, Tom, is a longtime baseball and football coach at Colby. Sam and his brother have spent countless hours at the school.

"Colby has been extremely helpful to our whole family," said Dexter. "It's been like a second home.

"Being around college players and being able to work out and practice with them with my father there has helped me tremendously. It's helped me understand the game and improve." 

Staff Writer Tom Chard can be reached at 791-6419 or at:

tchard@pressherald.com

Twitter: TomChardPPH

 

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