Shane Slicer (2018)
“Shane is an aggressive base coach; he teaches fundamentals like crazy and when his team takes the field they are always prepared to win. You really need to be a baseball guy to appreciate Shane. He talks baseball 12 months a year; he looks like baseball; he smells like baseball; he is baseball. Shane is a throwback guy – blue collared – hard working – tough son of a gun.”
- Gary Williamson
When Shane Slicer was initially introduced to baseball he relished the opportunity and still after four decades of playing and learning all about the sport that passion remains strong as Slicer continues to give back by teaching current generations about the many joys that America’s pastime has to offer.
Slicer’s long time commitment to baseball has been well known throughout the Western foothills and those exploits finally have drawn deserving recognition by being inducted in to the Maine Baseball Hall of Fame.
“I knew at a very young age that baseball was something that was going to be a big part of my life. I played ball every day in the summer. I couldn’t get enough of it,’’ Slicer recalled. “I remember going to the pickup games down the street from my house and I was the youngest kid there and the smallest if you can believe that. The first few days the older kids didn’t let me play so I just watched. This happened for a week or so until they finally needed another player. I finally got my chance and was a regular for the rest of my youth.”
Slicer further enhanced his talents during Babe Ruth, with the team winning the 13-15 year old state championship. Slicer was named the 15-year old state tourney Most Valuable Player- 1986.
When Slicer went on to Oxford Hills High School he credits coach Mike Loveless with having teaching so much about the important aspects that the sport offers.
“This is when I truly began thinking and learning about the game,” Slicer said. “Coach was big on situational baseball and knowing what to do at all times. We were always very well prepared that way. The biggest thing that coach Loveless taught me was discipline and work ethic.”
“He taught us no matter who we played to always be tougher and out hustle our opponent. He taught me what it means to put on an Oxford Hills baseball uniform.”
Slicer was a four-year starter and excelled offensively and defensively. 1988 Jr. Year- .451 avg, 25 RBI’s, 3 HR; 1989 Sr. Year- .500 avg, 25 hits, 16 RBI’s, 20 BB; when Slicer graduated he held the school record for hits. The Vikings won KVAC championship in 1989 and was the Western Maine regional finalist. Slicer earned first team All Conference in 1988 and 1989; second team All State Shortstop in 1988; first team All State Shortstop in 1989; team MVP 1988 and 1989 and American Legion All Star in 1987,1988, and 1989.
This solid grasp of the fundamentals would certainly serve Slicer well during a step-up to the next level. Slicer had met coach John Winkin a few times when attending his baseball camps at the University of Maine Orono. This provided Slicer with a chance to talk a little bit about baseball and because he was thinking of going to college.
Coach Winkin attended a playoff game sophomore year and also few games the next year, but (Winkin) really started seriously recruiting the senior student-athlete. “I was thrilled to think that I might be able to play at UMO,” said Slicer, referring to coach Wink having had a pretty darn good run going during the 1980’s, and as a kid growing up watching those teams going to the College World Series, you could only dream to play there. “Obviously I was pretty excited that Wink was showing so much attention. He was the face of Maine baseball.”
“I would just pepper him with questions about baseball situations, his practice plans, his career, alumni etc. It took awhile for him to warm up to me but we ended up having a good relationship and I was gaining knowledge and a mentor each and every day,” he said.
Coach Winkin basically told his players where he wanted them to play in the summer, so Slicer was assigned to play for the Auburn Asas of the Twilight league where the coaches were Billy Reynolds and Bruce Lucas, both UMO alumni. Slicer quickly found out that the Twilight league and Pine Tree League played on different nights, so he inquired about playing with the West Paris Westies, but they had their team set with veterans. The Lewiston team asked Slicer to play; which led to a blast playing baseball six days a week, making some great friends, and played against good competition. Slicer played in the PTL 11 years from 1992-2001,winning league championships four 4 times with Lewiston A’s in 92,94,97 and 98; league MVP 1995; hit .400 or better 7 times and hit .500 or better 2 times.
Toward the twilight of his playing days, Slicer was pondering the future and soon received news that hit close to home. He really didn’t know how much longer Coach Loveless was going to coach and out of the blue he called his former player and explained that there was a math teacher opening and asked if Slicer would be interested in coaching with him for a few years before taking over the program.
“I coached as Mike’s assistant for a few years, and took over as head coach in 2003. Coach Loveless gave me one of the best gifts anybody has ever given me, The Oxford Hills baseball program.” Slicer has turned the Oxford Hills program in to a powerhouse and annually enjoys success statewide. During his tenure, the Vikings have compiled a 205-86 record; won two Regional and Class A State championships in 2005 and 2010. Shane is a five-time KVAC coach of the year; has also won Sun Journal and Portland Press Herald Coach of the year awards and has six appearances in Eastern or Western Maine championship games as player or coach.
“The things that I want my teams to do are probably similar to most coaches,” he noted, who also has the joy of coaching sons Blake and Cameron. “Work hard at all times, out hustle your opponent, be a great teammate, be mentally and physically tough, wear the uniform the right way, think, be a good citizen,never take your opponent lightly or fear them and make others around you better.”
Another aspect often overlooked is not having a place for student-athletes to continue playing baseball. Once again, Slicer has covered the bases by offering an American Legion entry Bessey Motors which has proven to be extremely successful through out this century.
“ Playing summer baseball in Oxford Hills is so important for our program,” he said. “The more at bats and game experiences a player gets at a high level the better the chance they have of improving and reaching their true potential. Our most passionate players play school ball, summer ball, fall ball, and work out all winter. They play year round.
“I am blessed to have a group of kids who are dedicated to Oxford Hills baseball and chose to commit to playing for the Bessey Motors Legion team instead of going elsewhere to play AAU all summer,” Slicer said. “They are loyal to our community.
So often in order to achieve success in any endeavor, it is essential to be surrounded by quality individuals. Slicer lauded a few assistant coaches throughout the years starting with Paul Bickford, Brian Cox, Ben Goodall, Lance Bean and Joe Ouﬁero- who have all been tremendous to the OH program.
“Joe and I have coached many, many games together and I truly appreciate all of the time he has given to OH baseball. Joe, Lance, and I are fortunate to be able to coach together. We have great chemistry, love the kids, and bring different things to the table. All of the coaches that have worked with our youth really deserve a lot of credit for putting in their time, providing a positive baseball experience, and preparing them for the next level.”
Slicer pointed out that his wife - Dianne is wonderful, has been so supportive and has taken an active role in helping with fundraising, running the snack shack, and communicating with parents. She designed an Oxford Hills baseball page for our community as well.
“Dianne really understands what baseball means to me and it certainly means a lot to her as well,” Slicer said, they have sons - Blake and Cameron and daughter - Allison. “She has sacrificed a lot to allow me to coach baseball from March to August and she does so without hesitation. I couldn’t be the varsity coach at OH without her.”