Alex Flagg, Dalton Oakes, Krysta Porter, Jarrod Leonardi, Darrian Leonardi open up

Local Thomas College athletes discuss college life, lend perspective

Mon, 03/19/2018 - 11:15am

WATERVILLE — Every local student-athlete who has gone on to play collegiate athletics has a unique story. Many learned a great deal and are willing to share their stories, and advice, with the current group of Midcoast teens who play sports, and likely hope to continue their athletic endeavors at the collegiate levels. 

Below are the interviews with each of the local alums — Alex Flagg, Dalton Oakes, Krysta Porter, Jarrod Leonardi and Darrian Leonardi — who play baseball, softball or lacrosse at Thomas College.

The purpose of these interviews was to see what each of them have learned, and what advice they might have for current Midcoast high school student-athletes.

Flagg is a sophomore baseball player at Thomas. The five-foot-seven infielder is a graduate of Belfast and is majoring in secondary education. 

Oakes is a sophomore baseball player at Thomas. The six-foot pitcher and outfielder is a sports management major and graduate of Camden Hills. 

Porter is a five-foot-seven sophomore softball player at Thomas. The Mount View graduate is a sports management major and is a pitcher and infielder. 

Jarrod Leonardi is a six-foot-three junior men’s lacrosse player at Thomas and is an Oceanside graduate. The junior and criminal justice major is a midfielder on the lacrosse team. 

Darrian Leonardi is a five-foot-two women’s lacrosse player at Thomas and is a graduate of Oceanside. She is a sophomore business administration major and defender on the lacrosse team. 


What made you want to play for Thomas College? 

Flagg: What made me want to play for Thomas was the coaching staff. When I was making my college decision the location didn’t make much of a difference for me. After meeting Coach [Greg] King and [Coach Peter] Kirby I felt like I knew them all my life.

Oakes: I knew I wanted to attend Thomas the moment I visited the campus. I knew they had a baseball team, which was a bonus because I love the sport. I attended a couple of the baseball clinics at Thomas my senior year if high school and knew this was a great fit for me. 

Porter: I liked the fact that Thomas is close to home, and that I could continue to play both field hockey and softball.

J. Leonardi: What made me play for Thomas was the way I was recruited and the environment that Thomas college has. I looked around and saw how everyone interacted with each other and I realized that this was the school I wanted to attend and play sports here.

D. Leonardi: I started playing field hockey at Thomas, I did so for my first year. Now, in my sophomore year, I’ve decided to play lacrosse, I felt I couldn’t not be part of a team and Thomas Athletics is always willing to welcome new players to whichever sport they may choose. Thomas feels like more of a family, and you create special bonds with your teammates and that’s one of my favorite things.


What was your favorite sports-related memory from high school? 

Flagg: For me, it would be my sophomore year of baseball when we upset Oceanside in Belfast. I think we were going to be just barely out of the playoffs but we ended up beating Oceanside who was one of the top [three] seeds and made the playoffs for the first time in 10-15 years for Belfast.

Oakes: Winning the 2015 Eastern Class B Baseball Championship. We were the underdogs in [sixth] place and we beat the [second, third, and fifth] place teams to win the regional title — the [first] regional title for Camden Hills baseball in 16 years. 

Porter: My favorite sports-related memory from high school is probably hitting my first homerun against our rival school, Belfast, my junior year.  

J. Leonardi: My favorite sports related memory was my senior year. It was my birthday and it was the first time in my athletic career that I have had a game on my birthday. Basketball warm-ups just finished up, and they were calling up the starting line-ups. I was always the last one to be called and as they said my name the entire gym sang happy birthday to me. My body filled up with goosebumps and I knew it was going to be my type of game. 


What are your personal goals in the classroom? 

Flagg: My personal goals in the classroom is to build my skills to become a high school math teacher. 

Oakes: Give 100 percent in class. 

Porter: My personal goals in the classroom are to do everything to the best of my ability, and always put in quality work ethic. 

J. Leonardi: My goals in the classroom, are always to give it my best. Even if I give it my best and still don’t do well, I look at it as a learning experience. I look at it as if I never fail at my goals, I am not trying hard enough, and I am not learning. I always try my best in the classroom. 

D. Leonardi: To make sure I understand the material thoroughly, keep and open mind to expand my knowledge. To stay active within class discussions and build better team work skills.


What are your personal goals on the field? 

Flagg: My personal goals for on the field is to build my role on the Thomas baseball team and hopefully work towards a starting role.

Oakes: Work hard and give 100 percent on the field and have fun. 

Porter: My personal goals [on] the field are to always become better than I was the day before. 

J. Leonardi: My personal goals on the field is to be the best teammate I can be and try my best each and everyday to my teammates because they deserve it. My goal is to become better then I was when I started. Another goal is to be the energy guy, because it is hard going to practice everyday and having the same amount of energy, if my teammates see that, they will follow in my steps and coach will see all of our energy and hard work. 

D. Leonardi: On the field I try to be as vocal as I can, also to learn more about different game situations, what to and what not to do. As a new player I feel like it’s extremely vital to be aware of what’s going on, so I always want to keep a strong mentality and stay focused on the game and give 110 percent. 


What are your post-college plans? 

Flagg: My post college plans are to become a high school math teacher and possibly get into coaching for baseball as well.

Oakes: Graduate with a bachelor’s in business administration and hopefully some day open my own business. 

Porter: Post-college I am looking to become an athlete director in a local Maine high school, and to start up a youth softball league with multiple teams in Waldo County and the surrounding area. 

J. Leonardi: My post-college plans are to become a police officer in the state of Maine for a while, and then go to the west coast and be a police officer there, and then I will try to become apart of the FBI. 

D. Leonardi: As of now I have several Ideas of what I would like to do directly after college, one of them being working with my dad and his business in California. My big goal is to hopefully be a part of the make-up industry and own my own line.


What advice do you have to other Midcoast Mainers looking to play collegiate sports? 

Flagg: Play as many sports as you can, as often as you can. Collegiate coaches love multi-sport athletes and athletes that don’t take seasons off. The more you play the more you’ll get noticed.

Oakes: Follow your dreams and do what you love. It’s a big commitment, but if you love sports don’t give up and stick with it. 

Porter: You have to put in a lot of effort in the off season, you should never stop trying to get better and be better. Get in contact with the college coaches early, Junior year, that way they can get to know you and watch you play, as well as you can get a feel of the team and the coach and figure out if that team is the right place for you.

J. Leonardi: My advice to young athlete’s is to never give up on yourself. There will be days where you will do great things, and days that just won’t go your way. Always believe in yourself and your teammates. Remember always work hard because your talent won’t always be enough. When talent fails, hard works pays off. 

D. Leonardi: I suggest going to any sort of clinics or camps colleges host through any season you can. It gets you on a more personal level with coaching staff of your preferred sport. It’s also a great way to improve your skills. Don’t be shy either! Reach out to [c]ollege [c]oaches, see what they’re looking for. Some coaches strictly recruit, some allow walk-ons, and some have try outs where you can potentially be cut. But if it’s your passion don’t be afraid!


How did you end up playing your sport? What drew you to the sport? 

Flagg: I ended up being a baseball player when I was very young and my brother played it. I remember always wanting to play with my brother but I was too young to play with him. So I practiced with his team in little league when I was too young. It helped I was already there because my dad coached that team as well.

Oakes: I grew up playing baseball. I have always loved baseball, from T-ball all the way through. I love the history of the sport. I love competing and enjoy the camaraderie of my team with a group of guys with the same goal. It’s a fun sport. 

Porter: I started playing in second grade because my older sister played through elementary school and my mom and dad helped coach our youth league. What kept me playing is the mental aspect of the game and how very pitch and very out can create a different situation that you have never seen before. 

J. Leonardi: I ended up a lacrosse player by being cut from the basketball team because I wasn’t on time to try outs, which I take full responsibility for. A player from the lacrosse team and a good friend of mine convinced me to play and said it is a great sport and we all have fun. I took him up on that offer and I have stuck with it. What drew me to this sport was the desire to play a second sport. I have always wanted to play a different sport besides basketball. I was one of many players that tried to get a men’s lacrosse team in high school. What also drew me to this sport is how similar but different it was to basketball. 

D. Leonardi: I originally played field hockey, for eight long years. I’ve always wanted to play lacrosse but I was so dedicate to field hockey in high schooll I never took it up. I thought college would be a perfect opportunity to try something new. It was more of motivation to get out and do something new, and so I did. Before I started playing I didn’t have much knowledge of the game at all, I feel like I’ve already learned so much but still have a ways to go.


What is your favorite thing to do when in Midcoast Maine? 

Flagg: Go down to the Belfast Bay and listen to tourists try and pronounce the Passagassawakeag river.

Oakes: Hiking, going to the beach, being out on the lake. 

Porter: My favorite thing to do when I’m in Midcoast Maine is to go down to the waterfront and watch all the boats come in and out of the harbor. 

J. Leonardi: My favorite thing to do when I am back home is spend some time with my family and see my best friend, Alden. 

D. Leonardi: Walking the Rockland Breakwater with friends, hanging out in downtown Camden or Rockland and all the beach days I can get. 


What is your favorite way to spend your down time? 

Flagg: Baseball, Snowmobiling, and Fortnite.

Oakes: Listen to music, going to the gym, and play video games. 

Porter: My favorite way to spend my down time is with my family and friends enjoying their company. 

J. Leonardi: My favorite way to spend my down time, is to hangout with my friends, and girlfriend. Then go to the weight room and workout. 

D. Leonardi: Working out 100 percent; it’s a great way to stay active and build strength. Also a great stress reliever as well. If I feel I need to relax, anything art related is my go-to.


What is your favorite quote? 

Flagg: “You don’t stop playing because you get older, you get older because you stop playing.”

Oakes: “It’s hard to beat a person that never gives up.” ~ Babe Ruth

Porter: “Today I will do what others won’t so tomorrow I can do what others can’t.”

J. Leonardi: “Hard work beats talent, when talent fails to work hard.” 

D. Leonardi: “The only thing you have to fear is fear itself.” ~ Franklin D. Roosevelt


What is one thing that motivates you or inspires you in life? 

Flagg: My family 

Oakes: Hard work, determination and the desire to be the best that I can be. 

Porter: One thing that motivates and inspires me in life is my parents and seeing how hard they have worked to create a good life for my sister and I.

J. Leonardi: One thing that motivates me is my future. My future motivates me because everything I want in the future I got to work for. If I don’t, my life won’t be the way I want it to be. In order for my future to be the way it is supposed to be I have to do everything right now to make sure that happens and that is what motivates me. 

D. Leonardi: It’s going to sound strange, but I motivate and inspire myself. Every morning I pump myself up and get ready for that day, and strive for the best. Some days are off but I’m constantly telling myself the things that were good and how I can improve them. My failures inspire me to be better.


What is one place you hope to travel to one day that you have yet to visit? 

Flagg: Nice, France

Oakes: Grindelwald, Switzerland

Porter: I would love to travel to Australia, or Alaska.  

J. Leonardi: I hope to visit Italy, the country I was born in. I have heard many great things about it, and I want to get the chance to explore where I was originated from.

D. Leonardi: I would love to visit Italy, although I was born there I don’t remember it in the least bit. I would love to experience the country and it’s culture.


What do you believe is your greatest accomplishment in life? 

Flagg: Representing my hometown for baseball not only in Belfast, but in Brewer and for Thomas College.

Oakes: Working hard, attend school full-time and work part-time, and playing the sport I love — baseball. 

Porter: I think my greatest accomplishment in life is either graduating high school, or winning our conference championship, for softball, my freshmen year (2017) in college. 

J. Leonardi: My greatest accomplishment in life the opportunity my parents gave me to go to college. With out them helping me go to college and looking at schools, I would have probably not gone to school. College is my greatest accomplishment of my life so far and I thank my parents for pushing me to be greater than I was.

D. Leonardi: Not being afraid to do what I love, I feel like so many people are afraid to do what they love because they’ll be judged. I agree it is scary but once you let it go and just do what makes you happy always nothing else matters.

Reach George Harvey and the sports department at: