Post 84’s Spencer growing into coaching job

  • Dylan Spencer, second from right, stepped up to coach White River Junction Post 84, after former coach Justin Devoid left to manage the Upper Valley Nighthawks. Spencer watches with his team as Manchester Union warms up a pitcher at the Maxfield Sports Complex in Hartford, Vt., Wednesday, July 7, 2021. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Valley News — James M. Patterson

  • White Rive Junction Post 84 pitcher Alex Bushway misses a diving catch off a bunt from Manchester Union, but recovered to make the throw for the out at first at the Maxfield Sports Complex in Hartford, Vt., Wednesday, July 7, 2021. Manchester Union won 6-5.(Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Post 84 Coach Dylan Spencer, left, tosses a key to Bill Vielleux, Hartford High assistant baseball coach, right, so he can turn on the lights at the Maxfield Sports Complex during their game with Manchester Union in Hartford, Vt., Wednesday, July 7, 2021. Spencer is the new coach of White River Junction Post 84, taking over from Justin Devoid who is now managing the Upper Valley Nighthawks. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Valley News photographs — James M. Patterson

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 7/7/2021 9:40:39 PM
Modified: 7/7/2021 9:40:46 PM

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION — Dylan Spencer began the season for White River Junction Post 84 in familiar territory, but in an unfamiliar role.

The first-year head coach for Post 84 played for the team when he was in high school. After graduating from Hartford High in 2017 and enrolling at the University of Vermont, Spencer served as an assistant coach for Post 84 from 2017-19.

All that previous experience with White River Junciton made Spencer, 22, very familiar with the league and its rules.

“I know how to maneuver things around to finesse pitch counts, however I need to schedule future games,” Spencer said. “It hasn’t been seamless. I’ve sent guys when I probably shouldn’t have, I’ve stolen guys, bunted the wrong people, but that’s going to happen. I’m making mistakes just as much as everybody else is. I’m learning, I’m growing from it.”

White River Junction Post 84 fell to Manchester Union Underground, 6-5, Wednesday at Maxfield Sports Complex.

Manchester (7-3) broke a 5-5 tie with two outs in the top of the seventh inning. In the bottom of the inning, Post (4-3) catcher Drew Martin hit a two-out single that fell into left field, but he was thrown out trying to stretch it into a double.

Spencer acknowledged it was a hard loss to take, but he wasn’t overly upset about it.

“Every time you lose by one is tough,” Spencer said. “That was a good, hard-fought game. Sometimes the breaks don’t go your way, and you gotta take your lumps. Sometimes bad calls, sometimes whatever it is, just unlucky bounces. But that’s baseball. Can’t really do anything about it now.”

Spencer took over the head coach position with little time before things got started. It was a ripple effect from Justin Devoid becoming manager for the Upper Valley Nighthawks very close to the beginning of the NECBL season. Spencer had only two weeks between accepting the role and the beginning of tryouts.

Meanwhile, the team didn’t even have jerseys when he started. Post 84 had to order those with express shipping to arrive on time.

“It was a challenge,” Spencer said of taking the position so close to the season. “We didn’t have tryouts until three weeks before the season. I’ve never done any of the actual background paperwork stuff, so that’s my first time doing that. Took me a little bit of time to go through that and make sure that everything was correct before I submitted my roster. It’s a lot more managing than just coaching.”

Spencer tries to be a player’s coach as much as possible. He aims to get guys in the game as often as he can, and he has immense faith in his players.

He doesn’t tolerate trash talking or attitudes, but he’s an otherwise calm influence at the helm.

His team responds to that coaching style.

“(He’s) loose at times. Definitely a lot of fun,” Post 84 infielder and pitcher Carder Stratton said. “He knows how to play the game and knows when to put people in and pull them. He reads the game really well, which is really nice.”

Outside of coaching, Spencer works at Pathways Consulting LLC in Lebanon. He graduated from Vermont this year with a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering.

Spencer is not in any rush to chase future coaching ambitions. He envisions doing so someday, but is primarily focused on learning more and improving as a coach.

“I don’t necessarily like to get handed a position like this. I like to earn it. I’m very fortunate to have it right now,” Spencer said. “And hopefully, if I can continue to grow as a coach and other people see me as a valuable asset, I’d love to move forward and go on to other opportunities as well. I’m taking my time with it. I’ve got a lot of time to do it.”

But that goal of growing as a coach doesn’t preclude him from focusing on results this summer. He wants to make the playoffs.

“I think this group is talented enough to make a run at the tournament if we’re fortunate enough to get there,” Spencer said. “We’re loaded on the pitching staff. We’ve got plenty of guys that can contribute on offense and on defense. I think we’ve played everybody tough up to this point, and we’ve competed against anybody. It really just depends if we make our own breaks, and we come out on top at the end.”

Post 84 is back in action on Saturday with a doubleheader on the road against Bennington Post 13 at Mount Anthony Union High.

Seth Tow can be contacted at stow@vnews.com.




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