Fraser Begins First Year as Old Saybrook’s Skipper
Ryan Fraser has always had a goal of becoming the head coach of a high school baseball program. This spring, Ryan’s dream turned into a reality when he was named the new head coach of the varsity baseball team at Old Saybrook High School.
Ryan feels excited about the opportunity to coach Old Saybrook in the 2022 season. Ryan, who lives in Guilford, had previously served as an assistant for longtime Head Coach Mark Brookes with the Haddam-Killingworth baseball squad.
“I have always dreamed of becoming a head coach and had a wonderful opportunity as varsity assistant at Haddam-Killingworth High School. I learned a ton under the legend Coach Brookes and just feel like I have learned from some incredible coaches and was ready to take on the opportunity of being the head guy,” says Ryan. “I played against Old Saybrook as a coach of H-K the last few years and was always impressed with how hard they played. I felt this was a wonderful opportunity to develop a baseball culture in a town that has struggled with low turnout numbers in seasons past.”
Ryan, 27, is a Guilford native who grew up playing baseball in the town’s high school program. Ryan played first base, the outfield, and was also a pitcher for Guilford. After graduating, Ryan became a coach in Guilford’s summer league, as well as the Connecticut Edge AAU program. Last summer, Ryan served as head coach for the Guilford 19-U AAU baseball team, which recorded 14 wins and advanced to its league championship game.
Ryan’s favorite aspect of baseball is the mental chess game that comes with being a manager. Ryan likes employing a tactical approach and knows that he always needs to be thinking in order for his team to emerge victorious.
“I love the mental side and team aspect of baseball—thinking about the next play, the next pitch, the next inning, the next chess move,” Ryan says. “There are so many details to baseball, and the mental side of the game is what I truly love and have learned a lot about through the years. I hope to pass this down to my players, so they are thinking pre-pitch and alongside the coaching staff.”
One of Ryan’s primary objectives in his first year as Old Saybrook’s coach is to create a sense of community where people in town want to attend the Rams’ home games. Ryan is also looking to build a bridge between the high school program and the other levels of baseball in town.
“My vision is to develop a pipeline between the Little League, middle school, and high school program where expectations are similar and involvement and excitement about baseball continues to rise. I want people to want to be a part of Old Saybrook baseball,” says Ryan. “The seniors have already started helping with this vision by attending a local Little League camp with me to teach their knowledge of the game to the younger generation. I want to help develop players who love to watch and play the game—players who want to play the game at all times and find ways to get better.”
Ryan has big expectations for an Old Saybrook team that’s returning six seniors to the ballfield this year. Ryan is hoping to see the Rams’ senior class—which features captains Jake Butler, Carson Brown, and Noah Hester, along with Noah Grace, Nick Scalzo, and Nick Rothman—lead the club on a deep postseason run in the 2022 campaign. Old Saybrook started the season with an 11-1 win versus Westbrook in its opener last week.
“We return six seniors who have seen a lot on the baseball field. These are guys who are truly devoted to the game of baseball with hopes of playing at the next level,” Ryan says. “I just hope we continue to focus on getting better each day, focus on every rep and our attention to detail, foster relationships where players enjoy playing and being around one another every day, spread involvement and interest in baseball in Old Saybrook and, hopefully, play our best baseball as the season goes on.”
Ryan credits Coach Brookes, former Guilford baseball coach Brian Hayden, and current Guilford assistant Jeff Mainetti for helping him get to the position that he’s in today. More than anything, Ryan feels thankful for the chance to be the skipper of the Old Saybrook baseball team.
“I am very grateful for them as they pushed me to take advantage of this opportunity and take over a program in a community with strong baseball talent, but even better people,” says Ryan. “I have learned from many amazing coaches who I have played for.”