With three freshman in the Messalonskee High School baseball team’s starting lineup, the future looks bright for the Eagles. With the way each has contributed to Messalonskee’s run to the Class A state championship game, the future arrived early.

Catcher Trevor Gettig, second baseman Jake Dexter, and designated hitter Zach Mathieu have each played key roles for the Eagles this season. A fourth freshman, Nick Mayo, played in three games in the regular season.

The Eagles won their first Eastern A regional title with a 13-2 win over Lewiston on Tuesday. It was their first regional title since winning they won in Class B in 1973. Messalonskee (14-5) will face Scarborough (17-2), also a first-time regional champ, in the Class A state championship game at noon today at St. Joseph’s College in Standish.

“We did have the confidence in them to put them right into the starting lineup,” Messalonskee coach Ray Bernier said. “They’ve gotten stronger as the year’s gone on, too.”

Against Lewiston, the trio combined to go 4 for 12, scored three runs and drove in five. Dexter hit a pair of two-run doubles, Mathieu’s RBI double sparked the three-run rally in the fourth inning that chased Lewiston starting pitcher Corbin Hyde from the game.

Gettig had a key sacrifice bunt in the first inning, moving Dexter, who reached on an error to lead off the game, to second base. After going to third base on a wild pitch, Dexter scored on Travis St. Pierre’s sacrifice fly to center field.

“If he gets on at the beginning of the game, we’re bunting him over, and we know he’s going to score somehow between Sammy (Dexter) and Travis (St. Pierre),” Bernier said.

When the Eagles dropped to 5-5 with a loss to Brewer in mid-May, assistant coach Ray Bernier (son of head coach) studied the stats and tinkered with the batting order. Jake Dexter was moved to the lead off spot, with Gettig in the two hole in front of Sam Dexter and St. Pierre. Since the move, Messalonskee has won nine games in a row, averaging 7.5 runs per game.

“Coach Ray went through all our stats and our percentages, and that’s the combination we came up with,” the elder Bernier said. “We haven’t changed it since.”

Dexter has a .443 on base percentage, and his 20 runs are second most on the team, behind only his brother Sam.

“I know I’d be able to come in a contribute right away,” Jake Dexter said. “I played (American) Legion last year, and that got me some experience.”

Bernier called Jake Dexter the Eagles’ hardest throwing pitcher. As Messalonskee’s closer, Dexter hasn’t allowed an earned run in 14 innings.

“Jake, as a freshman, has unbelievable confidence, and the desire to win,” Bernier said.

Gettig has been a pleasant surprise, not just to the coaching staff, but to himself.

“I wasn’t expecting to be on varsity,” Gettig said.

A .309 hitter, Getting has scored 11 runs, and turned in a strong defensive season.

“He’s a very intelligent young man, and he also understands the game of baseball,” Bernier said. “He picks up quick. With Coach Ray being the pitching coach, he’s really helped bring him along and shown him how to call a game. He’d call the game certain innings, then he’d say ‘OK Trevor, now it’s yours.’ They’d go back and forth that way.”

A shoulder injury kept Mathieu out of the field this season, but he’s still productive at the plate, hitting .311 with seven RBIs and three doubles. In the future, Bernier envisions Mathieu as a player who can slide into the three hole in the lineup, and play second base, shortstop or third.

“The one disappointment was, he’s a great athlete. We wanted to see what he could do in the field, but he still has trouble with his shoulder,” Bernier said. “Hopefully by next year he’ll be both hitting and fielding.”

Added Mathieu: “I was happy to hit and I think I did my job so far.”

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

 


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