Windsor baseball standout makes recruiting trip to Arizona

Published 10:28 am Friday, January 30, 2015

Friday, Jan. 16, was an early day for Windsor High School’s leader behind the plate; it was also a big day. The catcher was awake at 5:30 a.m. for a skills showcase at the Chicago Cubs’ spring training facility in Mesa, Arizona. By 7 o’clock, the Windsor senior was doing his stretching warmups. At 7:30 a.m., he was performing defensive groupings in front of trainers and scouts from the next level of baseball.

Lance Sexton of Windsor High School got a chance to play in the Under Armor All-America Preseason Tournament in Mesa, Arizona.

Lance Sexton of Windsor High School got a chance to play in the Under Armor All-America Preseason Tournament in Mesa, Arizona.

“In a way, I was kind of nervous, but really it was more excitement than nerves,” said Lance Sexton. “I have done showcases before, and I know what I need to do. It kind of relaxes me.

“I’m excited to be out there, but I try to be calm so that I can do my best.”

For the 18-year old, going to the Under Armor All-America Preseason Tournament also gave him a chance to escape the cold. When the Ivor resident left home, the area was preparing for an ice storm. In Arizona, however, it was in the 80s.

“It was a whole lot warmer,” he said with a laugh.

But it was more than just temperatures. His name had been put in as one of the top 400 baseball players in the country, and that, too, had a warming effect.

So did playing. After finishing the defensive and offensive skill showcases, he was grouped with his East teammates, and it was time to play ball.

“The guys I was playing with — I met them, talked to them a little, and boom — I was playing with them,” Sexton said. “We had to click up with each other real quick.”

And it wasn’t like some of the other teams — California and Texas fielded teams from the same region of those states. He’d never met any of his East teammates, who ranged from New York to Florida. He was the only one from Virginia, but he gelled with them pretty well.

“How I deal with situations like that, I just go out to have a good time and play like I know how to play, giving 100 percent,” Sexton said. “I am trying to play college baseball, and you think, ‘Hey, I could be playing this guy. Or we could be on the same team.’ So you definitely don’t want to act like an arrogant guy.”

Overall, his team went 1-2, defeating the Georgia squad, but falling to one of the several California and Texas teams, respectively. Despite the losses, it was a great time. Particularly the moments where he was able to talk to major league athletes, recruiters and college coaches.

“They are the best of the best,” Sexton said. “Being able to learn from them is an experience. Every baseball player, from t-ball to high school, they all dream about going to the major leagues. To be able to learn from that, that’s what helps me. It makes you want to strive to be successful.”

Sexton was able to made connections with a number of his teammates. They ended up exchanging phone numbers so that they could stay in touch as they get ready for college and perhaps the majors.

“I ended up making some friendships that, hopefully, will go on throughout the next level,” he said.

One guy, Matt Walczak from Pennsylvania, was even committed to Lincoln Memorial University, a Div. II school in northeast Tennessee that is recruiting Sexton.

Sexton is also considering Virginia Military Institute, a Div. I program in Lexington, and Randolph-Macon College, a Div. III program in Ashland.

“I’m still feeling it out,” Sexton said, as far as his ultimate destination. “People often wonder why it’s so tough to decide, but it is.”

Thinking about the next level also made him sad for what he’s about to lose. When March 19 rolls around, that baseball game against Bruton High School will begin Sexton’s final campaign as a member of the Windsor Dukes.

“It’s kind of hard to believe that it’s here already,” he said. “Like everyone, I hope to have a winning season. But more than that, I hope we will be able to bond together and play baseball like we know we can.”

Sexton started playing baseball in the yard with his father, Don, but his first time was almost his last.

“The first time we threw, the ball hit me right in the lip and busted it right open,” he said with a laugh. “It was something.”

Through family encouragement, he ended up playing t-ball, and there, became friends with Carson Robertson, who goes to school at Isle of Wight Academy.

“That’s one of the things that pushed me,” Sexton said. “We would go back and forth and try to be as good as each other.”

And he kept it up all the way through the recreation league, AAU travel ball and high school.

“It is just what I thoroughly enjoy playing,” Sexton said. “They say find something that makes your heart beat. My heart bleeds baseball.”

Baseball comes natural, but he said it also takes a lot of work. That’s particularly true since he also takes AP courses and sports a GPA of around 4.0.

“There are countless hours hitting and throwing,” Sexton said, crediting his mother, Lisa Sexton, for his classroom success. “People ask me, ‘Why do I waste my time doing that? Especially on the weekends? Why spend all week working in the classroom, and spend your weekends on baseball?’

“I will go to the batting cage and spend 2-3 hours hitting, and it doesn’t bother me to take my free time to do that.”

To him, it’s all worth it.

“All in all — Lance is a very good player that has strength and will help a program at the next level,” one scout said of Sexton. Another noted, “Behind the dish, Lance tracks the ball into his mitt and sticks it. Lance has skills and should find success on the diamond.”