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06/15/2022 12:00 AM

Lane’s Sophomore Performance Helps Old Saybrook Make History

Sophomore Connor Lane played a pivotal role in helping the Old Saybrook baseball team claim the Shoreline Conference title during the 2022 spring season. Photo courtesy of Connor Lane

Connor Lane’s goal is to be a well-rounded student-athlete while competing for the Old Saybrook baseball team. A sophomore, Connor took on a key role for the Rams in their storybook season this spring and became a player who others could rely on as a catcher and relief pitcher.

Connor’s performance helped Old Saybrook win the Shoreline Conference title with an overall record of 17-5 this year. Connor’s love for the game of baseball bolstered his play throughout the season, ultimately helping him earn All-Shoreline Conference accolades.

Connor’s beginnings in baseball go back to when he was eight years old. He played in Old Saybrook Little League and then started with AAU baseball shortly thereafter. Connor only played one season in middle school, but then entered the Rams’ program with something to prove. The love that his dad has for the game sparked Connor’s passion for the sport.

“My dad played baseball, and he kind of got me into it. He encouraged me to play, and I started with Little League,” says Connor. “It was really fun, so I just kept with it.”

Connor enjoyed his first experience with the Rams last year as he competed alongside teammates that he’s known since childhood. Connor loves the atmosphere on the team and believes that it played a major role in Old Saybrook’s championship run this season.

“We’re all a family, and it’s just really fun to play with those guys,” Connor says. “It’s a huge factor. Everybody’s really close, and it helps so much with how we act, how we treat each other, and pick each other up on the field.”

Connor and his teammates all headed into the 2022 season with the same goal. After Old Saybrook went through some struggles last year, Connor knew that he had to play well both behind the plate and in the batter’s box. Connor and the Rams were determined to turn things around.

“Team-wise, no one is really expecting much out of Old Saybrook baseball, but deep down, we knew we were going to be pretty good,” says Connor. “We just kept with it and, all of the doubters, we just proved them wrong.”

Old Saybrook’s turnaround season featured 17 wins and a 4-2 victory versus Valley Regional in the championship game of the Shoreline Conference Tournament, clinching the Rams’ first league title since the 1980s. Connor led Old Saybrook with a .414 batting average and also played a big role defensively, throwing out numerous runners attempting to steal second base. He also came in to pitch in relief at various points of the season.

Connor picked up the win by pitching 3.1 scoreless innings of relief when Old Saybrook defeated Valley in the Shoreline final. He also hit an RBI double that gave the Rams the lead in the fifth inning.

Connor’s contributions as a sophomore earned him a spot on the All-Shoreline First Team. First-year Head Coach Ryan Fraser couldn’t be happier about the impact that Connor had on the Rams.

“Connor’s maturity goes far beyond his age, and he was a catalyst on the offensive and defensive side of the field all year for our team,” Fraser says. “It was great as a coach to see the recognition that he deserves, as he was an invaluable member of our team and someone who loves his teammates and the game of baseball.”

Connor made sure to a keep a short memory throughout the season. Connor didn’t let little mistakes get to him or distract him from his goal of helping Old Saybrook have a successful campaign.

“You need to have a short memory, good or bad,” says Connor. “You can’t let errors or mistakes in the field eat you up or else you’ll be messed up for the rest of the game or even the rest of the season.”

Heading into his junior season, Connor is looking to take what he’s learned by playing for Old Saybrook and apply it in a leadership role. Connor wants to emerge as a leader for the Rams and is hoping that more people will join a team that needs to replace meaningful contributions from several seniors.

“I’m looking forward to getting more people in baseball in Old Saybrook,” Connor says. “Having a winning culture here and winning the Shoreline could help with that and get more players to play.”

Connor plans on leading with both his actions and his words as a junior. Connor also strives to be leader in the classroom and puts a great deal of emphasis on academics.

“I could probably focus on being more of a vocal leader on the field and just picking up my teammates more,” says Connor. “In the classroom, what motivates me is making sure I have good grades and can set an example for the younger kids, so they could have good grades and keep the team GPA high.”

Connor is aiming to take a big step forward next year on the heels of incredibly successful 2022 season. He’s excited to get more athletes involved on the team and see how the Rams will shape up on Opening Day. Right now, though, Connor is still soaking in the feeling of winning a Shoreline Conference title with a team that he loves.

“It was a pretty special moment. It was just cool to take that all in at such a young age,” Connor says. “It was just awesome.”