Elizabethton Twins pitcher Cody Laweryson delivers a pitch during a game last season. The Twins, a rookie-level farm team of the Minnesota Twins, play in Elizabethton, Tennessee. Contributed photo/Elizabethton Twins

Cody Laweryson is home in Moscow, working out as best as he can. Laweryson would rather be in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, getting ready for opening day with the Cedar Rapids Kernals, a Single A team in the Minnesota Twins farm system. Before the coronavirus outbreak, the Kernals were scheduled to open the season Thursday at Kane County. There’s a good chance Laweryson would have been on the mound.

“I’ll throw outside on days it’s nice out. My dad has a big garage with a net set up, and I can throw in there, too,” Laweryson said.

Sam Dexter, a Messalonskee High School graduate, is in Charleston, South Carolina, waiting to hear from the management of the New York Boulders (based in Pomona, N.Y.), his new team, and the Frontier League, the independent league in which the Boulders play. Dexter’s younger brother Jake is in Waterville, where he, too, awaits word from the Frontier League and his club, the Washington Wild Things of Washington, Pennsylvania.

Sam Dexter makes a play while playing for the Milwaukee Milkmen last season. The Milkmen are an independent team that plays in Franklin, Wisconsin. Contributed photo

“I haven’t heard much from the organization or the league,” Sam Dexter said. “Reporting day is May 1, and the first game is May 15. We’re not delayed as of right now, but you can see we will be.”

Added Jake Dexter: “They said they will let us know, they just have to follow the guidelines of the CDC.”

A Valley High School graduate, Laweryson was selected by the Twins in the 14th round of last June’s Major League draft, after his strong junior season at the University of Maine. In 10 appearances at Rookie League Elizabethton (Tenn.) and one start at Single A Cedar Rapids, Laweryson went 1-1 with a 1.57 ERA last season. He struck out 63, walked 10, and allowed 27 hits in 46 innings pitched. Opponents hit just .168 off Laweryson last season.

Laweryson was at the Twins minor league training complex in Fort Myers, Florida in mid-March when word came down that camp was closing as a precaution as the virus spread.

“I got down there in January for pitching camps. We didn’t have (exhibition) games scheduled until the 17th. Everybody was starting to get a little antsy about what we were going to do,” Laweryson said. “We had 200 people in the facility. If one person get (the coronavirus), it’s going to spread fast.”

Since returning to Maine three weeks ago, Laweryson has worked out as much as he can, even driving to Orono a few times to pitch off a mound into a net at the University of Maine. Laweryson said camp had not progressed to the point of learning his team assignment to begin the season, but he expected to start the season at Cedar Rapids after pitching well last season in Elizabethton.

“I was thinking Cedar Rapid. I was feeling really good and trying to build off that,” Laweryson said.

Following his senior year at the University of Southern Maine, Sam Dexter, a middle infielder, was picked in the 23rd round of the 2016 draft by the Chicago White Sox. Dexter advanced to the High A Winston-Salem Dash in 2017, but was released by the White Sox in 2018. He played the 2018 season for the Trois-Rivieres Aigles, an independent club in the Can-Am League, which has since merged with the Frontier League.

Prior to the 2019 season, Dexter was traded to the Milwaukee Milkmen, an expansion team in the American Association, also an independent league. Dexter hit .234 with 25 runs scored and 23 RBIs as the Milkmen’s starting shortstop. Last October, Milwaukee traded Dexter to the Boulders.

Sam Dexter is living in Charleston, South Carolina with his girlfriend, Kelsey Chagnon, where he trains for a season he’s not sure will begin. He’s able to take swings in a batting cage near his house, hit off a tee, and Chagnon sometimes throws him underhand batting practice. Before everything shut down, Dexter was an assistant baseball coach at Wando High School in nearby Mt. Pleasant, S.C.

“We were 7-1 when it all got bagged,” he said. “Everyone is in the same boat. My thought is, we’re going to play sometime.”

Jake Dexter signed as a free agent with the Los Angeles Angels after finishing his USM career last spring. He pitched in relief in seven games for the Angels Arizona Rookie League team last season, Dexter struck out eight in 10 innings with a 3.60 ERA and no decisions. When he was released after the season, Dexter signed with the Washington Wild Things.

“I tried out for their team last summer in a tryout before I got on with the Angels, so they knew about me. Once I got released from the Angels, they saw that online and called me up and asked if I wanted to play with them,” Jake Dexter said.. “My experience should help, I don’t know how much but every time you take the field you learn something, usually more when you mess up.”

Jake Dexter heads to third in the top of the ninth inning after his hit to right field was misplayed during a game against Oswego State in the NCAA Division III tournament last season in Gorham. Contributed photo/ USM athletics

Jake Dexter is living in Waterville with former high school and college teammates, with whom he’s able to throw and stay ready when camp does start.

The Dexter brothers were teammates twice. First on the Class A state champion Messalonskee baseball team in 2012, when Sam was a senior and Jake a freshman. In 2016, they were teammates again at USM, as Sam wrapped up his all-America career with the Huskies and Jake began his. The Wild Things are scheduled to visit the Boulders the first weekend of the season. While that series is very much in doubt, the brothers hope their first matchup as opponents does happen this summer.

“I am excited about the potential (mathcup), it should be good, I’m going to throw him fastballs, maybe a little wrinkle,” Jake Dexter said about how he would pitch Sam.

“He’d throw me his best stuff. He’s got that heavy sinker,” Sam Dexter added.

Laweryson’s 2019 season culminated with his best outing. On Aug. 26, his final game of the season, Laweryson struck out 15 Greenville Reds over six innings, allowing just three hits in a 1-0 win. He’s in regular contact with Minnesota’s minor league pitching coaches, strength coaches, and training staff, and will be ready when he’s allowed to return to Fort Myers for camp before beginning the season.

“Everyone’s trying to make the most of it,” Laweryson said. “This is my first full season (of pro baseball). I need to experience a 120, 140 game season in the minors. I definitely want to get a full season in.”

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM


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