Albert’s junior year baseball photo. Brewster Burns

WEST PARIS — COVID-19 has cost Dakota Albert his final baseball season at Telstar, but the disease has done little to dampen his enthusiasm for the sport he’s loved a good part of his life.

The fourth-year student was brought up in a sports family and found a love for the Boston Red Sox at a young age. Much of his earlier childhood was spent at his grandparents house where he’d watch as many Red Sox games as he could.

When he was eight he started playing the sport and quickly morphed into a “baseball freak.”

“People that know me know my love for the game of baseball is so strong,” he said. “They know that everyday they see me I will try and talk baseball with them.”

A dream that’s stuck with him during his journey all the way up through high school is to play for the Red Sox professionally. Having a favorite athlete naturally comes along with someone who has strong passion for any sport, and Albert is no exception to this. He grew up idolizing Manny Ramirez, who played left field for Boston for nearly eight seasons. Albert said he tries to model his game after Ramirez and also wants to possess the same happy-go-lucky attitude that Ramirez displayed regularly.

Albert planned on wearing a number 24 jersey this baseball season, the same number Ramirez wore during his Red Sox tenure. Although he will not be donning number 24 on the diamond this season, he’s holding out hope for the future.

This fall he plans to study Information Technology at  Southern Maine Community College. He also has his mind set on making the school’s baseball team – the next step toward achieving his goal.

Getting to this point – attending SMCC and getting the opportunity to further progress in his favorite sport – did not come without some bumps.

When Albert was a sophomore, he was cut from the team due to academic struggles. He knew he needed to improve his grades.

“I really was upset with myself,” he said.

The next year he was able to right the ship and play a full season of baseball.

Albert admitted, though, that he does wish he had gotten better grades in school. However, his eyes are now on the future, following his love of baseball and pursuing an his interest in technology.

Outside of baseball, Albert calls gaming his other major passion.

He’s taking a computer technology course at Region 9, where he’s learned a lot more than just the basic hardware. It’s there that he’s gotten a better understanding of the software side, like coding and security, which pushed him toward his decision to study informational technology.

One of the reasons he took the computer class at Region 9 is because of his other goal — wanting to make his own gaming PC.

Currently, Albert finds himself in familiar territory with many of his other classmates. He’s missing friends, making memories and his favorite sport, but unlike many, does not strongly oppose remote learning.

“I’m 50/50 on it. I like it because I can work on my own time, but I also can’t have my teachers there all the time to help me with assignments if needed.”

What’s hurt him more has been not seeing his closest friends: Charles Hodge, Kory Crockett Harrington, and Lucas Malley. The four classmates were planning on doing something fun before graduation. Albert said social media has helped him stay in contact with his friends.

Another great friend of his is Dean of Students at Telstar John Eliot. Eliot also coached Albert in baseball his first two years of high school.

“He has been more than just a coach, he has been a mentor and has had a huge positive influence on my life. If I needed guidance with my troubles in life, I would try to go to him first. But I want to thank him for being an amazing friend both on and off the field. I will miss him,” Albert said.

Leaving behind close friends and teachers and digesting a lost senior year is far from easy, but Albert’s interest in technology and drive to further his baseball career have kept him going.

He feels sticking to your dreams can bring people to places they never thought they’d reach.

“Even though the odds of me going on to play professionally are very slim, I want to show the younger kids in the world to never give up on their dreams and always try and follow them because you never will know where life will take you,” he said.

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