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Saturday, Aug. 2, 2014

2007 ALL-SD baseball Team

Saturday, June 2, 2007

(Photo)
Drew Pixley of Dexter, Player of the Year
Catcher keeps improving

DEXTER -- For the last three years, stealing bases against the Dexter Bearcats was virtually non-existent.

The main reason for that has been the right arm of catcher Drew Pixley.

The senior was a one-man wrecking crew behind the plate and essentially shut down opponents' base-running strategy.

He's always been a top-notch defensive player, but this year he blossomed into a dangerous offensive threat as well.

For those reasons, Pixley is the 2007 Standard Democrat Baseball Player of the Year.

"Having Drew back there the last three years, it slowed down if not totally stopped the opposing team's running game," said Dexter coach Brian Becker.

"That's huge, especially when you get into a close game. He picked several people off of first base or threw behind the runner at second and picked them off. It makes a difference when a runner is getting their secondary lead, they know they can't get off too far or Drew will throw behind them and pick them off."

Of 15 attempted steals on the Bearcats, Pixley threw out 10 of them. He also picked off six other base runners that strayed too far from the base.

Pixley, who stands 5-foot-10 and weighs 155 pounds, maybe 160 soaking wet, doesn't have the look of a prototypical catcher. But he generates plenty of arm strength in that wiry frame.

And it came from years of hard work.

"I started long-tossing since I was about 8 or 9-years-old," said Pixley. "Dad always had me out in the front yard throwing, trying to throw as far as I could, as hard as I could. I just kept doing it and developed the arm strength that I have today."

Despite his prowess behind the plate, he was never as consistent swinging the bat.

But this season he broke out with a good, solid year on offense. The cure?

Once again, hard work in the offseason made all the difference.

"I have a building in my backyard -- I just set up a net and hit off a tee into the net," said Pixley. "I didn't play a winter sport, so did that all winter long. I focused on hip strength and lower body strength. It helped me out with my power and I was driving the gaps more this year."

He batted .379 with 25 runs scored and 16 stolen bases. He also clubbed two home runs with six doubles. A broken left thumb sidelined him for a few games late in the year, but he gutted it up and played through the pain in the district tournament. He was batting .404 before the injury.

Pixley, who bats left-handed, just couldn't grip the bat the way he did before.

"I had problems keeping my top hand on the bat," said Pixley. "Sometimes it would slip off and I'd find myself getting a little long and leaving the barrel behind and I'd pop up all the time. The injury happened at the wrong time."

Pixley helped lead Dexter to a 17-6 record this season, the school's best record under Becker. The Bearcats finished second in the SEMO Conference and garnered the top seed in the Class 3, District 1 Tournament before being upset by Kennett in the semifinals.

But it didn't diminish what Pixley and the Bearcats accomplished. He helped put the school on the local baseball map this year as a serious contender for conference and district championships.

"We had a really good season all in all -- the best we've had since coach Becker has been the head coach," said Pixley. "I just think we weren't ready to play that last game. We had beaten Kennett two games already in the season. I think we came in here thinking we were going to get a for sure win. Everybody did something wrong that game."

Pixley was rewarded for his season with his third straight selection on the all-

SEMO Conference team. He was also selected first team all-district for the second time as well.

"I had a good year compared to what I did last year and the year before that," said Pixley. "Every year has gotten better for me, that's for sure. My batting average went up, I played better behind the plate. I think each year I'm developing stronger as a player. Hopefully I'll continue to improve through college."

Pixley, along with teammate Josh Stevens, will be taking his talents to Mineral Area College next season.

Stevens and Pixley also formed a formidable quarterback-wide receiver tandem back in the fall for the Bearcat football team, coached by Drew's dad Aaron Pixley.

Pixley caught 23 passes for 429 yards and three touchdowns, another testament to the athleticism he possesses.

That's just one reason why Becker thinks he'll make an easy adjustment to college baseball.

"I think that's a great place for Drew to start," said Becker. "He's going to step in there and get a lot of playing time. I think he'll do a great job there and hopefully move up to a nice four-year college. I couldn't be happier with the kid. He's worked hard the past four years. All his hard work paid off. It's going to be tough to replace him. Those are big shoes to fill."

Pixley thinks he will be able to step right in and play for Mineral Area.

"The better pitching I see, the better it is for me as a hitter because I push myself harder to be able to hit that type of pitching," said Pixley. "I have very high expectations. According to our coach he says this is his best class he's brought in so far. Plus this freshman group he's got this year that will be sophomores next year are pretty good. We're looking forward to a good season next year."

Plus he's already working on bulking up his frame.

"Summer weight-lifting actually started this week for the high school and I've been going in the mornings at 6 o'clock," said Pixley. "I'd like to be 165 or 170 pounds by next season."

Pixley says he expects to play catcher for Mineral Area, but he will move where they need him.

"I love to catch -- catching is my favorite position," said Pixley. "I didn't start catching until I was in fourth grade. I always played outfield before then. Once I started catching I never quit. Some teams thought I'd make a good outfielder because of my footspeed and another team wanted me as a shortstop. I've never played shortstop. But I'll play wherever they put me. I'm just ready and excited for the challenge."

Class: Senior Height: 5-10 Weight: 160 Position: Catcher Honors: Started on the varsity for 3 years. Earned 1st team all-conference all three years. Earned 1st team all-district his junior and senior seasons.

* '07 highlights: Batted .379 while scoring 25 runs and stealing 16 basses. Also threw out 10 of 15 runners attempting to steal and picked off another 6 base runners. Future: Will attend Mineral Area Community College on a baseball scholarship next season.

UT -- Josh Stevens, sr., Dexter ---------------------------------------------------- P -- Jerod Scott, sr., Sikeston ---------------------------------------------------- C -- Drew Pixley, sr., Dexter ---------------------------------------------------- IF -- Tyler Beardslee, jr., Oran ---------------------------------------------------- IF -- Scott Droddy, jr., Sikeston ---------------------------------------------------- IF -- Andy Hendrix, jr., Chaffee ---------------------------------------------------- IF -- Zach Secoy, sr., East Prairie ---------------------------------------------------- OF -- David Hessling, jr., Dexter ---------------------------------------------------- OF -- Josh Jackson, sr., Sikeston ---------------------------------------------------- OF -- Paul Johnson, jr., Charleston ----------------------------------------------------

UT -- Steven Dooley, jr., Oran ---------------------------------------------------- P -- Chris Hanback, sr., Chaffee ---------------------------------------------------- C -- Caleb Seyer, jr., Oran ---------------------------------------------------- IF -- Kody Campbell, jr., Oran ---------------------------------------------------- IF -- Dylan Harris, jr., NMCC ---------------------------------------------------- IF -- Nick Lambert, jr., Sikeston ---------------------------------------------------- IF -- Cole Smith, sr., Dexter ---------------------------------------------------- OF -- Seth Baker, jr., Sikeston ---------------------------------------------------- 0F -- Chase Seyer, sr., Oran ---------------------------------------------------- OF -- Logan Swindle, sr., Dexter ----------------------------------------------------

Top hitter: Tyler Beardslee, Oran ---------------------------------------------------- Top defensive player: Drew Pixley, Dexter ---------------------------------------------------- Best senior: Drew Pixley, Dexter ---------------------------------------------------- Best junior: Scott Droddy, Sikeston ---------------------------------------------------- Best sophomore:?Caleb Miller, Dexter ---------------------------------------------------- Best glove:?Austin Williams, Sikeston ---------------------------------------------------- Best base stealer: Paul Johnson, Charleston ---------------------------------------------------- Most power: Caleb Seyer, Oran ---------------------------------------------------- Best throwing arm: Drew Pixley, Dexter ---------------------------------------------------- Most improved: Kyle Marshall, NMCC ---------------------------------------------------- Most underrated player:?Dallas Tew, Kelly ---------------------------------------------------- Best fan support: Oran Eagles ---------------------------------------------------- Best atmosphere: Charleston Bluejays ---------------------------------------------------- Best all-around team: Sikeston Bulldogs ---------------------------------------------------- Game of the year: Jackson 8, Sikeston 6 (9 innings), April 30 ---------------------------------------------------- Coach of the year: Kevin Self, Sikeston