DEXTER---- The Dexter Tigers baseball team reached the 2012 Eastern Maine final.
The Tigers fell to Calais 4-0 in the regional final.
Dexter lost three key players from that team to graduation. They have a strong nucleus returning and a group of young players that will be battling for starting positions.
"We lost three very good players in (Jared) MacDonald, (Ryan) Wilks and (Vincent) Malinauskas to graduation, but have four or five young players who should make pre-season interesting,"Dexter coach Chad Graffam said. "Key returning players include seniors Casey Jordan, Dylan Graffam, Matthew Crane and Brandon Spratt who are all four year starters. Junior Trevor Fogarty is a solid shortstop."
Jordan, Graffam and Crane provide a pitching rotation that will be tough to match up with in the class C ranks.
"Of course everyone staying healthy will be very key in determining the outcome of our season. One injury here or there can make things very difficult for us as it would for everyone else. We should be solid up the middle with veterans at each position and our pitching should be a strong part of our team,"Coach Graffam said."On offense we need to score runs and be aggressive on the basepaths to be successful, but at the end of the day, Dexter will hang their hats on giving teams 21 outs and making teams beat us and not beating ourselves."
Pitching depth is very important, especially early in the season. Graffam will have junior Nathan Robichaud returning to add depth to an already strong rotation.
"Returning to our team this year after a year off due to a serious baseball injury during the summer of 2011, is Junior Nathan Robichaud,"Coach Graffam said. "Nathan was struck in the face by a line drive during our 2011 Babe Ruth Season and should be at full strength this year. Nathan had three wins on the mound as a freshman and we're excited to have him back."
Sophomore Josh Smith will see plenty of action including time as the backup catcher for the Tigers.
The number one catcher is Dylan Graffam. As a freshman, Smith was behind the plate when Graffam was on the mound.
Coach Graffam said, "Our Sophomore group is led by Josh Smith, who started eight games as a freshman and has worked hard over the winter on his game."
If the Tigers stay healthy, they should be able to make a run at an Eastern Maine title.
"In Maine, early season games and weather along with pitch counts could change everyone's out look from week to week,"Coach Graffam said. "Overall I am very excited just to be able to have the group of guys I have. They work hard and try to do everything we ask of them. With a little luck and some good weather 2013 could be an exciting year."
Dexter is scheduled to open their season on April 15th when they host Central. If the fields are dry, the Tigers will have three games the first week of the season. They will have a home game against Bucksport and a clash at class B East defending champion Foxcroft Academy.