LEWISTON — Mekae Hyde might shrug off the cyberworld process that made him a Futures Collegiate Baseball League all-star this summer.

There’s no making light of the forum it provided for him, though.

By winning an online fan vote, Hyde was anointed the 25th man for Team New England in the annual all-star game against Team Massachusetts on July 25 in Pittsfield, Mass.

“I don’t really know how it all worked. The coaches all got together and then the kids that didn’t make it got put out there for a vote, kind of the same way Major League Baseball does it,” Hyde said.

It opened the door to a night of fun and pageantry. A nice honor, indeed.

But the part of the itinerary that meant most to Hyde and his baseball future were a few minutes in the batting cage that late-arriving fans surely missed.


“I couldn’t really play, because I hurt my (quadriceps) the day before,” Hyde said. “But I got one at-bat, and probably the best part was I got to take batting practice in front of all the scouts.”

Hyde estimated that there were 25 to 30 major league representatives in the stands evaluating talent — essentially one from every team.

Heavy stuff for a Maine kid, even one who has starred at every level from Elliot Ave. Little League to Lewiston High School to Gayton/Pastime American Legion to Bates College.

This was Hyde’s second straight summer playing in a top-notch collegiate summer league.

He spent 2012 with the Riptide in the Myrtle Beach (S.C.) Collegiate Baseball League. This season saw a slight name change but a huge difference in family and friends’ ability to watch Hyde play. He became the first Bates player to suit up for the Old Orchard Beach Raging Tide in the FCBL.

Teammates included players from the University of Miami (Fla.), Santa Clara and Virginia Tech as well as standouts from the University of Maine, Bowdoin and Saint Joseph’s.


“Overall I think the (FCBL) competition was a little better,” Hyde said, comparing the two summer schedules. “There are a lot of Division I players and schools represented.”

Hyde had no trouble adapting to the higher level.

Despite having his season shortened by the muscle strain, he played in 20 of OOB’s 53 games and was second on the team with a .333 average. He had one home run, six RBIs and six stolen bases.

“At the start of the season I was catching most of the games,” Hyde said. “Then we tried to give some of the other guys a little bit of time. As we got closer to the playoffs I started catching most of the time until I got hurt.”

Hyde was one of four catchers on the Raging Tide roster, including backstops from Division I Maine and Hartford.

“It’s a good mix of Division I, Division II and Division III guys. I don’t really pay attention to where the kids are from when I’m out there,” Hyde said. “Some of the Division III kids are better than Division I kids and obviously some of the Division I kids are better. But honestly when you’re out on the field you don’t think about that.”


OOB enjoyed the most successful season in its brief history, winning a franchise record 26 games and reaching the FCBL playoffs for the first time.

Martha’s Vineyard swept a best-from-three series from OOB on Sunday and Monday, but not before the Raging Tide became the first team to host a postseason game at the refurbished Ballpark since the Triple-A Maine Guides in 1985.

The summer was a perfect extension of the regular season for Hyde, in one significant respect: His head coaches at both Bates and OOB are former professional catchers.

Mike Leonard of Bates was a farmhand in the Boston Red Sox organization. OOB field manager Chris Torres played in the Tigers system and for several independent minor-league clubs.

“(Leonard) was a defensive catcher in the pros, so he has worked with me to become a better defensive catcher. (Torres) was known more for his offense, so he has worked on that with me,” Hyde said. “It’s great for me because I get both sides.”

Hyde is back home enjoying rare family time with his parents, Jimmy and Oneica, and younger brother Corbin, who plays at Endicott College in Massachusetts.


His junior year at Bates, and fall baseball, are imminent.

“These are the only two weeks I have off all year,” Hyde said. “I get to relax and get healthy and be at home for a little bit, and then it’s right back at it.”

As for the summer of 2014, Hyde said only one phone call would prevent him from returning to the Raging Tide.

“If I had the opportunity to play in the Cape Cod League, I’d have to do that,” he said. “But this year was a great experience, and I’d love to do it again.”


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: