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Senior captain catcher Haydon Lockhart sported a .418 batting average with a .512 on-base percentage, while helping the Old Saybrook baseball team play its way to the Class S State Tournament quarterfinals this spring. (Photo courtesy of Haydon Lockhart )
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Haydon Lockhart wanted to help the Old Saybrook baseball team in any way he could during his senior season this spring. Haydon delivered for the Rams by getting on base seemingly every time he came to the plate, while also guiding the team with his leadership from behind the dish.
Haydon recently completed his career as a senior captain who played catcher and batted leadoff for Old Saybrook, having started for the squad since his freshman year. This season, Haydon had 32 hits on his way to posting a .418 batting average with a .512 on-base percentage and 17 runs scored for the Rams, who won 17 games and advanced to the quarterfinals of the Class S State Tournament.
“All the credit for my success goes to my teammates, because I wouldn’t be able to achieve those numbers without them getting on base. I just tried to help the team out as much as I could and get on base as much as possible,” says Haydon. “[First-year Head Coach Nick Hahn] helped change our approaches at the plate and made us look for short, quick swings.”
Haydon realized early on this year that he had to set a positive tone for his teammates while leading them at the catcher’s position. One of the biggest ways Haydon did that was by encouraging Old Saybrook’s pitchers whenever they came across trying times.
“I’ve learned to keep my head in the game—because when I didn’t early in my career, the team would lose theirs—because I was seen as a leader,” Haydon says. “As a catcher, I love being involved in every single play and being able to see the whole field. The worst part of it is seeing the pitcher get so upset, but I also like trying to calm them down and help them get back in the game.”
Haydon says that he felt little to no pressure as Old Saybrook’s leadoff hitter and actually relished batting out of the top slot. As a senior captain, Haydon knew there was an extra emphasis for him to be an effective leader as the Rams acclimated themselves to a new man at the helm.
“I love hitting leadoff. I’ve never been afraid of seeing the pitcher first, and I felt comfortable up there,” Haydon says. “With a new coach, there was a lot of learning to do, so Coach Hahn let the seniors set the tone, and we threw ideas out to him about leading the team. This year was the best year I had here.”
Coach Hahn says that while Haydon’s offensive contributions were impressive, he believes the senior’s leadership as a catcher and a captain sparked the Rams just as much this year. Hahn constantly saw Haydon work with Old Saybrook’s pitchers to help them get out of difficult jams and turn in masterful work on the mound.
“Haydon’s defense as a catcher and leader of the pitching staff has allowed for our pitchers to be confident and pitch with conviction. Haydon made big blocks and threw out runners in key spots all year long,” says Hahn. “Haydon is the most vocal leader in our program and has helped his teammates to push themselves to get better daily. His team-first mentality, confidence, and work ethic are contagious. His stats are extremely impressive for a leadoff hitter, especially for a catcher who gets physically beat up every day behind the plate. Haydon is huge reason why we were able to achieve so much success this season. His personality and positivity will be missed next year.”
Looking back on his final year at Old Saybrook, Haydon thanks the Rams’ coaching staff for fostering an attitude that allowed the team’s athletes to strengthen their bonds among one another. Haydon knows that’s one of the biggest reasons why Old Saybrook had such a successful season this spring.
“Our team chemistry was incredible this year. We loved coming to practice this year, and Coach Hahn brought incredible energy and competitiveness to them,” says Haydon, who also thanks his dad James, his Rams’ teammates, and hitting trainer Wally Grigo. “In the dugout, we were a family. We came together and it made this season special. I couldn’t imagine not playing here.”
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