China baseball player working to crack lineup at Newbury College

Dylan Presby taking a swing during a fall game at Newbury College.

Roland D. Halleeby Roland D. Hallee

Dylan Presby, of China, tried other sports in high school, but he settled on baseball when he realized he needed more time in the off season to work on improving his skills in baseball rather than play other sports that would not be beneficial to him.

China resident Dylan Presby

At Erskine Academy, in China, Dylan became an integral part of a baseball team that was laden with talent. There was Winkin Award finalist in pitcher Nate Howard, co-ace Noah Bonsant, and a formidable presence in hitter Cody Taylor, one of the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference premier hitters.

According to Erskine coach Lars Jonassen, Presby took on the role to be content to give the spotlight to the other players by simply doing whatever the Eagles needed to win. Jonassen called Presby “our best player.”

Jonassen continued by saying, “He was an unsung hero, and didn’t care that he never got any recognition.”

Presby wanted his senior year to be something special. “I needed to work on my hitting, and not settle for being a decent fielder.”

The team was expected to do well during the season, with forecasts they would go deep into the playoffs.

Dylan began the year by hitting a home run in the season opener against Gardiner. That was followed by multiple multi-hit games. At that point, he knew that season would be special. They captured the regional championship when Presby responded with a bases-loaded triple in a 7-6 win over Hermon. Previously, he had gone 3-for-4 with a double, triple, and three runs batted in en route to a key victory over Waterville.

During his senior season, Presby batted .490, and went 4-2 as a pitcher with two saves. His regular position is second base, although he did fill in playing center field.

Prior to that season, Dylan played for the Maine Lightning in the Elite Baseball League and prepared himself to play at a higher level. “ That really helped me get my swing down, get my mechanics ready for my senior year, and I felt like that really helped me out to start the season.”

For his accomplishment at Erskine, Presby was named the Kennebec Journal’s Baseball Player of the Year, an accolade that, it is believed, has never been given to a China resident before.

Dylan Presby, center, with parents, Dave, left, and Michelle, of China.

But, that was high school. He has now moved on to a higher level of competition. He has taken his baseball skills to Newbury College, in Brookline, Massachusetts, a Division III school that plays in the New England Collegiate Conference (NECC).

The 18-year-old freshman reflected on his high school experience and his coach, explaining that Jonassen kept drilling into Presby the importance of staying focused with the task at hand. And Presby attributes the way he plays with the persistence of his coach.

But, in college, he found more of the same, and then some. “The major changes between high school and college is how in-depth the college coaches critique your every move. I felt I was learning something new every day even though I have been playing ball ever since I can remember.”

His goal was to go to college and enjoy the experience. “Being on the baseball team only makes the experience better,” he said. He chose Newbury College because of the small school environment and the location of the campus.

According to Newbury College head coach Kraig Kupiec, “Dylan is doing great here at Newbury and, as a freshman, is fighting for playing time in a very congested and competitive outfield.” When the regular season begins in the spring, Dylan will be wearing #7 on the varsity roster for the Nighthawks.

Last season, Newbury College finished fifth in the conference with a 7-11 record, and 18-18-1 overall.

Dylan credits his parents for playing a huge role in his development as a baseball player. “My dad was able to drill commitment in my head ever since I was younger. There was no excuse to miss practice. No excuse on why I can’t put extra swings off the tee. My dad was able to contribute to my maturing as a man, as I grew to understand my priorities.”

What about mom? “Mom helped me better myself every practice and every game because she is my number one fan and I always wanted to make her smile when I played.”

His love of baseball started at a young age. He played Little League in China since T-ball and was an all-star from ages 9-12 years old.

Outside of baseball, Dylan has realized that life outside of China, Maine, is much different, especially now that he is going to school in Massachusetts. “China is a small town where everyone knows everyone. I always like that because I love running into old friends.”

So what’s next for Dylan?

“I am not expecting to play baseball after college, but you never know what is held in the future.” He is majoring in sports management and communications.

Dylan is the son of David and Michelle Presby, of China.

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