After playing out of his natural position for his senior season, Kyle Dewees will return to the outfield at the next level after signing with Trinidad State Junior College

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FARMINGTON — Kyle Dewees was the engine of Piedra Vista’s baseball team and often provided a spark when the Panthers needed one during the 2016 season. Now, the recent PV graduate will look to provide those characteristics to the baseball program at Trinidad State Junior College after he signed a letter of intent this afternoon.

“He’s an impact guy. In our program, we’ve always had guys like Shane Woodson and Gunner (Archuleta), and when you look for a replacement for our motor, he was our motor,” PV head coach Mike McGaha said of Dewees. “Anybody who has ever watched him can see that he makes an instant impact. He has the ability to change the game right away.”

Dewees served as the leadoff hitter and shortstop for the Panthers this season, but at TSJC he'll play in the outfield, which is his natural position.

Dewees was impressed with the school’s campus when he went for his visit earlier this year and said that the program at TSJC is similar to PV’s, making the combination the right fit for him.

“It’s a lot like Coach McGaha’s program and philosophy,” Dewees said. “And they’re built on speed, and that’s what I’ve got.”

TSJC is located in Trinidad, Colo., and competes in Region 9 of the National Junior College Athletic Association. The Trojans finished last season 43-17.

Dewees plans to major in criminal justice at TSJC and hopes to become a police officer after college, saying it has always been the job he envisioned for himself.

At the next level, Dewees’ biggest adjustment will be balancing his academics and athletics, according to McGaha, who said Dewees’ baseball IQ, especially as a baserunner, is above the norm for most players coming out of high school.

Dewees’ on-the-field intelligence is what improved most during his time at PV, and that growth is something he wants to carry on while playing for the Trojans.

“I started out a little crappy as a player, but started to grow a little bit with (McGaha) always yelling at me,” Dewees said.

McGaha laughed off Dewees’ self-criticism, comparing Dewees’ early-career woes to a complicated subject in school — you can’t expect an eighth-grader to walk into a senior calculus class and have a full comprehension of the subject.

“I think the things he was talking about were the things he needed to overcome personally, and from a baseball IQ standpoint — trying to do things you’re not capable of doing is what most kids do,” McGaha said. “I think there are a lot of pressures off of the field that people don’t realize — that kids are trying to live up to expectations from home or in a baseball community. In our program, we only expect them to live up to our expectations, and once kids start to realize it’s OK to make mistakes as long as you learn from them, they take a big step forward. I think he’s the epitome of that.”

Karl Schneider is the sports editor for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4648.

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