ValleyCats pitcher finds ‘second home’ with grandmother

    TROY — Almost all the players on the Tri-City ValleyCats baseball team live in apartments across the street from Joseph L. Bruno Stadium,

    Pitcher Jake Dexter is an exception. He’s spending the summer by going back to his childhood. Dexter, a Maine native, is living with his 88-year-old grandmother, Teresa, at her house in Delmar.

    “It’s been really nice,” Dexter said. “I love her and I didn’t get to see her for a year-and-a-half or whatever. I just her like her being around. It’s kind of like a second-home type thing.”

    Teresa was in the stands along with several members of Dexter’s family when he started and pitched five innings of one-run ball in a 12-2 victory over Sussex County on Saturday.

    “It’s been fun,” Teresa said. “He’s a great guy and he’s been great company. He’s back and forth and it’s got me so interested in the ValleyCats and coming to the game.”

    Teresa Dexter has lived alone in the two-story house on a wooded corner since her husband, Thomas, died in 2004. Thomas Dexter, who played catcher for Siena in the 1950s, served as assistant deputy commissioner of the New York State Department of Correctional Services.

    Jake is living in the upstairs bedroom that once belonged to his father, Tom, now the wide receivers coach at Colby College in Waterville, Maine. Tom Dexter said he’s glad his mother has company after the isolation of the coronavirus pandemic, which cut off many elderly people from their families.

    “This is almost something from above to have Jake be able to live with his grandmother, who he’s very close with and always has been,” Tom Dexter said. “She was alone (because of) the COVID, people dropping off food. She was alone for a good year-and-a-half and just for Jake to be able to have that time with her right now, it really warms my heart.”

    Jake does a little work around the house by trimming the bushes, taking out the garbage or washing his grandmother’s car. He’ll offer to pick up groceries from the store, though his grandmother remains active.

    “She’s always moving around and keeping busy around the house,” he said. 

    Jake Dexter spent his summers as a child coming back to the Capital Region with his parents, both 1982 Bethlehem Central graduates who were divorced eight years ago. He sometimes stayed with his grandmother and went to ValleyCats games.

    For her part, Teresa Dexter drove to Oakland, Maine to watch Jake, his brother and two sisters play various high school sports. Jake and his older brother, Sam, won a state baseball championship and later played together at Southern Maine, a top Division III baseball program.

    “My car knows the way,” Teresa said. “I spent a lot of time going back and forth and watching them grow up. They’re all athletes. I guess I’m their No. 1 fan, after their mother.”

    Their current living situation began after Jake Dexter was released by the New York Boulders of the Frontier League on May 20 in Pomona. He decided to stay with his grandmother and contacted the ValleyCats through infielder Keaton Weisz, a former rookie-ball teammate in the Angels organization.

    Dexter got a tryout with the ValleyCats and manager Pete Incaviglia signed him. Dexter has a 4.96 earned-run average in 19 appearances with four spot starts.

    “Love Dex,” Incaviglia said. “If there’s a player on this team that embodies what I’m looking for, it’s a guy like him. He’s all in. Competes. Never quits.”

    Incaviglia said he has no issues with Dexter staying with his mother instead of the team housing, though Dexter does spend time with his teammates at their apartments after games. When he comes home, he and his grandmother will talk about the game or other things.

    “It’s like my second home, kind of just growing up there in Grandma’s house,” Jake Dexter said. “It kind of always stays the same.”

    Note: The ValleyCats traded third baseman/outfielder Carson Maxwell and pitcher Turner Larkins on Monday. Maxwell went to the Joliet Slammers for pitcher Logan Dubbe and Larkins went to the Schaumburg Boomers to complete an earlier trade. The ValleyCats are also signing outfielder Connor Lien, released by the Mariners organization July 27, to upgrade their defense in centerfield, Incaviglia said. 





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