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'He's just a winning baseball player': RedHawks shortstop Sam Dexter vital piece in team success

Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks shortstop Sam Dexter has been a vital component of the team's defense this season.

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Fargo-Moorhead's Sam Dexter celebrates with teammates after scoring a run against Cleburne at Newman Outdoor Field on Thursday, June 16, 2022.
David Samson/The Forum
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FARGO — Prior to road trips, Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks shortstop Sam Dexter heads to the grocery store to stock up on items like carrots, broccoli, green beans, strawberries, bananas, blueberries and oatmeal.

Healthy eating is part of the routine for the 28-year-old Dexter, who has been with the RedHawks for three seasons.

“He’s the healthiest eater on the team, guys are always ragging on him that it’s OK to have an Oreo (cookie) every once in a while,” RedHawks bench coach Anthony Renz said with a laugh. “It’s part of what he believes makes him successful in his preparation. It’s hard to argue with the results.”

A defensive stalwart, Dexter is batting .274 with 12 doubles, seven home runs and 51 RBIs in 70 games. He’s helped the RedHawks remain among the top teams in American Association baseball this season. F-M plays the Lincoln Saltdogs at 7:02 p.m. Friday at Newman Outdoor Field to start a three-game series.

“He’s just a winning baseball player,” Renz said of Dexter. “He’s going to make every play that he has to make, he wants to be up in the big spots. He wants to be the guy to drive in the winning run. That type of effort and attitude he brings every day is contagious.”

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Dexter said healthy eating is something he’s done for as long as he can remember. It was something he picked up from his mom Sarah Dexter, a physical education teacher. His diet is loaded with fruits, vegetables and he drinks ample water.

“It’s all about feeling good out there and I feel like that helps me, especially playing a position like shortstop,” said Dexter, who is from Oakland, Maine. “I’ve been carrying on those habits for my whole professional career. I think it’s helped keep me on the field. I’m going to continue it until the wheels come off I think.”

Dexter is in his fifth season of independent baseball. The Chicago White Sox drafted him in the 23rd round of the 2016 Major League Baseball Draft. He spent two years in the White Sox organization after his college baseball career at Southern Maine, an NCAA Division III program in Gorham.

“He’s going to find a way,” Renz said. “We’re so lucky to have him be our shortstop. There is never a lackadaisical moment from Sam Dexter. It’s always focused, determined and with conviction. He just won’t take no for an answer.”

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Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks shortstop Sam Dexter has been a fixture in the F-M middle infield this season.
Alyssa Goelzer/The Forum

Tom Dexter, Sam’s father, has been an assistant football coach for Colby College in Waterville, Maine, for more than 30 years and was also the head baseball coach at the D-III school for 15 years. Tom is in the Maine Baseball Hall of Fame. Sam spent ample time around the baseball field growing up and his parents have played a vital role in his baseball career.

“They’ve been a huge influence,” Sam said. “They’ve supported me since Day 1. I don’t think they miss an inning of RedHawks baseball. We’re just a competitive family as a whole.”

Sam’s younger brother, Jake Dexter, pitches for the Tri-City (N.Y.) Valley Cats in the Frontier League and his two sisters, Hannah and Lydia, are both accomplished athletes.

When the RedHawks acquired Dexter in 2020, they knew they were getting a slick-fielding middle infielder.

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“I love playing defense,” Dexter said.

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“He’s the best defensive shortstop in the league,” Renz added. “The shortstop position is so vital for winning baseball teams. He’s one of the main reasons why in my estimation, we’re the best defensive team in the league.”

He’s also developed into a capable hitter, generally hitting near the bottom of the RedHawks batting order.

“It’s a valuable bat to have at the bottom of the lineup,” Renz said. “It’s one of the more versatile bats in our lineup. He’s a sneaky RBI guy for us. … He’s become a professional hitter. When he’s in the box, you always feel good.”

Dexter belted a grand slam in a victory against the Sioux City Explorers earlier this week. He has a .987 fielding percentage and has committed only four errors in 70 games. Sam, however, said he’s not interested in the individual accolades.

“I haven’t won a championship in professional baseball,” Sam said. “Every offseason that’s my one main goal. I want to play every game and I want to win a championship.”

Peterson covers college athletics for The Forum, including Concordia College and Minnesota State Moorhead. He also covers the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks independent baseball team and helps out with North Dakota State football coverage. Peterson has been working at the newspaper since 1996.
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