DEXTER – When Dexter softball came just one game short of the 2019 state title, the thought of next year was on everyone’s mind. COVID-19 cancellations made that goal impossible, but now two years later, the Tigers look to pick up right where they left off.
For over a year, the infield at Dexter High School has hardly been touched. There’s been no rolling of the infield dirt, nor painting of the foul lines. Inactivity was the case for spring sports around the state in 2020, but for Dexter softball, the sting of missing last season hit different.
“2019 was a tremendous year, and we got a lot of experience from that and were really looking forward to 2020,” said third-year Dexter Head Coach Jason Hardy.
After a mid-season win over Bucksport, the 2019 Tigers caught fire, capturing a regional title on the way to an eventual state-runner up finish. In 2020, the roster was built for another deep run, but the team never got its chance.
“We a had a great group of seniors coming back as well as a core group of underclassmen too,” Hardy said.
Hardy’s three top seniors graduated without any chance at redemption, but that core group of underclassmen now returns as veterans–with high hopes of finishing what they began their sophomore year.
“We lost a couple key seniors, but this year I think we’ll still have a strong team and hopefully make it as far,” said senior shortstop Peyton Grant.
Pitcher Avery Herrick and Grant are among the seniors that will lead an underclassmen group that has yet to play a game.
“They bring a lot of leadership, and a lot of experience…kind of set the standard for our younger girls to look up to,” Hardy said.
They are not alone in its battle against youth ,but if there is any group that feels ready to answer the call, it is Dexter’s softball seniors.
“We’ve kind of been role models since our freshman year with every sport because we’ve always excelled in that, so I think if we just bring that onto the field here then we’ll be good to go,” Herrick said.
The Tigers are set to open their 2021 season on April 23 vs. Searsport.