Powell Leads the Tigers from Behind the Plate
After winning a state title during his junior year of high school, Connor Powell is raring to go in his final season with the Hand baseball team this spring. Connor is leading the Tigers as a senior captain while suiting up at the catcher’s position in the 2022 campaign.
Hand lost its first contest of the year, but bounced back to win its next three games for an early record of 3-1. The Tigers are relying on both Connor’s bat and his defensive prowess behind the plate as they try to defend their Class L crown.
“Obviously, that first game didn’t finish how we wanted it to, but I’m still proud of the way we gave them a fight all seven innings. Even though we didn’t play our best baseball that day, all our guys showed a lot of heart,” says Connor. “In the three games we’ve played since, we’ve shown that same fight and that same heart and, along with that, we have been playing better baseball. Each game we’re looking to improve by a little bit, so that we can be at our best by the playoffs.”
So far this season, Connor is sporting a .533 batting average with 3 doubles, 5 runs scored, and 2 RBI for the Tigers. He’s also thrown out three runners attempting to swipe a base.
Connor loves everything about suiting up as a catcher. One of the things that Connor enjoys the most is working with Hand’s hurlers as they strive for dominance on the mound.
“My favorite aspect of calling a game behind the plate is that it lets me control the flow and rhythm of the game. I sort of get control of how quick the pitcher works, what pitch he throws, when he picks off, and how our field is positioned in certain situations,” Connor says. “Calling games has also helped me learn more about the game and different approaches to take in different situations.”
Connor has worked hard at perfecting his game. The senior backstop spent countless hours on the field and in the gym to ensure that his strength and conditioning were up to speed for the first pitch of the current season.
“Every day, I either go hitting, lifting, or work on my catching skills in order to improve my game,” says Connor. “My favorite aspects of the game are definitely competing with and having fun with my teammates, whether it’s in practice or in a game and even off the field. I love the team chemistry we have this year.”
Connor’s experience at last year’s state championship game is something that he will never forget. Hand defeated Berlin by a 3-0 score in the Class L final to bring home the first state title in program history.
“The feeling was absolutely surreal,” says Connor. “I’ve played for a lot of teams and in a lot of tournaments where we finished in second place throughout my life, so it was awesome to finally be part of a team that got the job done.”
Head Coach Travis LaPointe says that Connor epitomizes what it means to be a captain. LaPointe credits Connor for always being there for his teammates and never hanging his head after a bad play.
“Connor is a leader on and off the field. He hustles, picks up his teammates, and will never be outworked,” LaPointe says. “Connor is our catcher and our field general. He has established great relationships with all of his teammates and coaches, making personal connections to all of them. His energy is all positive and perseveres through any adversity that comes his way.”
Connor appreciates how LaPointe has always had trust in him behind the dish. Connor wants nothing more than to cap off his senior year with Hand’s skipper as back-to-back state champs.
“Coach LaPointe has always had a lot of trust in me since freshman year when I moved here and has always respected the work I put in and the decisions I make in games, too,” says Connor. “I am looking forward to playing another season with Coach LaPointe. My expectations for our team this season are to improve every game we play and be ready to go on another run this year.”
Connor is set to play baseball at Southern Connecticut State University after he graduates from high school. Connor feels eager to put his skills to the test at the collegiate level.
“The thing I’m most excited for in playing at the next level is the challenge,” Connor says. “I’m looking forward to competing against other great athletes, and it should be an awesome time.”