An extra year pays dividends
ANDOVER — The moment was brief, but for a few seconds in front of the Phillips Academy dugout,Dan Dymecki and Curtiss Pomeroy celebrated like kids.
The two post-graduate students at the Andover private school were among the team’s oldest and most intense — Dymecki wouldn’t let coach Kevin Graber even think about replacing him on the mound in the last inning of their season finale, and Graber likens Pomeroy to John Wayne for his stoicism. But thanks to Dymecki’s game-winning RBI, they had just completed their fifth year of high school baseball with a dramatic walk-off win over longtime rival Phillips Exeter Academy, 5-4, and they let loose.
As the team laughed and yelled and let their hats fall to the ground and their jerseys get untucked, Pomeroy hoisted Dymecki onto his shoulder like a 5-foot-11, 180-pound toddler. It was a joyous end to a championship season, a fitting sendoff for two players who will play Division 1 college baseball next season, reaching goals that seemed uncertain a year ago.
Last spring, as their high school classmates were making their college decisions, Dymecki (then at Wellesley High) and Pomeroy (at St. John’s High in Shrewsbury) were in limbo.
Still waiting on offers from their desired college programs, they both applied to Andover to give themselves more time to reach their goals.
Dymecki and Pomeroy proceeded to lead their new team to its first Central New England Prep title since 2008 while polishing their baseball skills.
“Coming here has given me the opportunity to go play at a college that I'm really excited about,” said the shortstop Pomeroy, who is heading to Georgetown University after making a verbal commitment to attend the school last July. Andover “is really special for me, and it's given me an opportunity to pursue a dream that I've wanted since I was a freshman in high school.”
Dymecki, a righthanded pitcher, verbally committed to Lafayette last May, just before graduating from Wellesley High.
“I had an opportunity to play at the college level this spring, but it wasn't the right fit for me,” Dymecki said. “It just wasn't quite comfortable yet. I found the school for me, then I got to come to school here, focus on school work, focus on baseball. It's been a great year.”
Andover finished the season 16-5. Dymecki was 6-0 with a 1.39 ERA to earn Central New England MVP honors. He also hit .408.
The 6-foot-1, 185-pound Pomeroy hit .433 and earned Central New England all-star honors.
“They went above and beyond my expectations,’’ Graber said. “We expected those guys to come in and make an impact, but you're never really sure what kinds of kids you're getting until you see them. They were supportive teammates and super hard workers, and that just filtered through the entire program.”
Both players worked hard to get the most out of their extra year.
Dymecki added eight pounds of muscle, some velocity to his mid-80s fastball, and touch to his changeup. Pomeroy improved his footwork in the infield with help from Graber, who played and coached at both the minor league and collegiate levels before arriving at Andover in 2008.
The year also gave Dymecki and Pomeroy their first taste of living away from home.
Pomeroy’s future college coach, Georgetown’s Pete Wilk, says that even for already-mature players, having that experience is helpful for when they arrive on campus.
“Going away from home to school can be a difficult transition for some kids,” said Wilk, who expects Pomeroy to compete for significant playing time as a freshman. “But Curtiss has already been there, done that. Some of my freshmen are lost after three or four weeks just because they’re away from home.”
Graber doesn’t foresee that being an issue for either Dymecki or Pomeroy.
After the experience they gained at Andover, their transitions to college baseball — and college life — should be smooth.
“They’re amazing. Both were ready before they came here,’’ he said. “But they used the extra year to get even more ready. Now they'll essentially be college sophomores who will arrive to college as freshmen.’’
earn postseason title
Melissa Christmas wanted to take a different approach into her second season at the helm for the Lexington Christian Academy girls’ softball program.
She had her players in the school’s gym working on their core strength and agility for most of their two-week spring break in March, knowing the work would pay off on the basepaths.
Lexington Christian (11-3) ran all the way to its first Eastern Independent League title since 2000.
“We came into the season in midseason shape,” said Christmas, whose team averaged just over 10 runs per game. “And we were aggressive on the basepaths. We took a lot more chances and played more heads-up ball than we did last year. We were able to turn singles into doubles and doubles into triples just by being aggressive.”
Senior captain Emily Schuh led the squad’s eight returning starters, finishing the year with 28 steals. She received all-league honors along with junior captain Kallan Roys (26 steals), junior Kristen Twomey (17 steals), and eighth-grader Samantha Gibson (24 steals).
Christmas, who played varsity baseball at Lexington Christian (class of 1996) because there was no softball program at the time, will lose six seniors to graduation. But she isn’t thinking too far ahead. Right now she’s reveling in the fact that her team went from 6-7 last year to league champions in just one season.
“We knew it was going to be different this year,” Christmas said. “The girls worked extremely hard and stepped up to the challenge.”
Vanderbilt University freshman Tyler Beede, a graduate of Lawrence Academy in Groton, was named to the Southeastern Conference’s all-freshman team after going 1-2 in league play with a 3.91 ERA and a team-high 45 strikeouts in a team-high 48.2 innings. . . A sign that persistence pays off: Millis High’s softball team earned a berth in the Division 3 South tourney despite a 2-18 record, thanks to its 16-3 season-finale win over Advanced Math & Science Charter School, which gave the squad the minimum .500 mark against division foes.
Phil Perry can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.