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Senior captain Dan Cote and the Old Saybrook baseball team won three games last week to move to 3-3 this year. Cote pitched the final two innings when the Rams earned a 2-1 victory over Cromwell on April 7. (Photo by Kelley Fryer/Harbor News | Buy This Photo)
Junior Jack Colella is off to a fantastic start for the Rams with a .474 batting average through the first two weeks of the season. (Photo by Kelley Fryer/Harbor News | Buy This Photo)
Senior pitcher Jaden Rolon threw a gem against Cromwell last week, allowing just one run to go with nine strikeouts when Old Saybrook defeated the Panthers by a 2-1 score on April 7. (Photo by Kelley Fryer/Harbor News | Buy This Photo)
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The Old Saybrook baseball team improved to 3-3 this season after winning three of its four games during a busy stretch last week. The Rams notched victories over Cromwell, Westbrook, Old Lyme, before taking a defeat against Portland in last week’s action. On the heels of a 17-7 campaign that included berths in the Shoreline Conference and Class S State tournaments, Old Saybrook is aiming to return to the playoffs and then go on a deep run this spring.
At the start of the year, Head Coach Nick Hahn told his athletes that they are striving toward conference and state titles in 2019. With plenty of returning players who contributed to a stellar 2018 campaign, Coach Hahn believes that the sky is the limit for the Rams.
“Going into the season, our expectations are high. We have a senior-loaded team with eight on the roster. Those eight are unselfish, and their leadership shows every single practice and game,” said Hahn, who’s in his second year as head coach. “Beyond that, 14 out of our 15 players are upperclassmen at the varsity level. We expect to have a successful season this year.”
On April 7, the Rams notched their first win of the year with a 2-1 home victory against Cromwell. Junior Jack Colella drove in senior captain Jordan Butler in the third inning for the Rams’ first run. In the fourth, Butler cranked a double to right field to make it 2-0. Cromwell cut the lead in half in the fifth, but couldn’t get any closer.
Senior Jaden Rolon gave Old Saybrook a solid start by pitching five strong innings in which he allowed just one earned run and struck out nine. Senior captain Dan Cote threw the final two innings to get the save, striking out three.
“Jaden Rolon pitched great. When he locates his fastball, he’s a tough pitcher to beat, and he is an absolute bulldog on the mound. He’s extremely competitive. We trust him against any level of competition throughout the year,” Coach Hahn said. “Dan Cote came in late and closed the door the last two innings. He throws the ball really hard.”
On April 9, Old Saybrook scored a 6-5 road win against Westbrook. Cote hit a line-drive double that drove in Colella for a 1-0 lead in the first inning. Westbrook tied the game in the third and added three runs in the fourth, but the Rams responded with a four-spot in the fifth on a bases-loaded walk from senior captain Patrick Kelley, a run-scoring wild pitch, and two-run double by Cote.
After Westbrook tied the game at 5-5 in the fifth, Rolon put the Rams up for good in the seventh when he singled, stole second and third, then crossed the plate on a miscue that resulted from his pressure on the base paths.
Coach Hahn credited junior Toby Marineau for a gutsy pitching performance that included seven strikeouts and only five hits allowed. Gabe Kaar came on in relief to finish it out. Coach Hahn said that Old Saybrook took many quality at-bats that led to positive results.
“Against Westbrook, we had timely hitting,” said Hahn. “That was the first time in the first four games that we saw ourselves battling with two outs and two strikes and put balls in play. We knew we would need it.”
The next day, Old Saybrook doubled up Old Lyme by the final score of 12-6. The Rams put the game on ice early by scoring six runs in the first inning and six more in the fourth. Colella supplied two hits with two runs and two RBI, while Kelley added a hit, a run, and two RBI. Cote (2 runs, 2 RBI), Butler (2 RBI), Kaar (2 RBI), Davis Brown (1 RBI), and Marineau (1 RBI) also contributed to the offensive outburst for Coach Hahn’s club.
“There were moments last year when our hits would come in bunches. It was nice to string in a few innings in a row with everyone locked in at the place,” Hahn said. “We believed the big hit was coming, rather than just hoping for it.”
On April 12, the Rams took a 3-2 defeat against Hale-Ray to close out the week.
Coach Hahn said that Old Saybrook’s senior captains—Kelley, Cote, and Butler—are doing a great job of leading the Rams this year. Hahn believes that their leadership is translating to success on the field.
“Patrick Kelley leads by example and is a vocal leader. He has a great ability to recognize when the team needs to be pushed and when the team needs to be relaxed,” said Hahn. “Dan is extremely competitive. He demands a lot from himself and others rise to his level of competition. Jordan is the emotional leader of the team. Every day, whether it’s a practice or a game, he gives 100-percent effort. He picks up teammates when they’re down.”
Another big-time player for the Rams is Colella, who earned All-Shoreline Conference Second Team honors last season. The junior is already off to a hot start this year.
“Jack Colella’s currently batting .474. He had an unbelievable sophomore year. He’s put together a great first two weeks with three doubles and a triple so far,” Coach Hahn said. “Jack is one of those players with quiet confidence. He’s been a varsity player since freshman year, and he’s worked his butt off in the gym.”
Regardless of how this season shakes out, Coach Hahn appreciates that he has the opportunity to lead a team of quality athletes who are also great people. Hahn hopes that everyone in the Old Saybrook community has the chance to see his team shine on the diamond this spring.
“I’m very lucky to coach the group of players that I do. They make my job easy. They represent everything we want from to see from Old Saybrook baseball,” said Hahn. “We want to promote baseball on the shoreline. We hope that the community comes out to support us. We hope everyone comes down to see some games.”
From the Sidelines
The Old Saybrook baseball’s team’s roster features senior captains Jordan Butler, Dan Cote, and Patrick Kelley; seniors Nicholas Condulis, Luke Duffy, Peter McNeil, Jaden Rolon, and Mason Wilcox; juniors Vincent Babji, Will Bergeron, David Brown, Jack Colella, Leo DiBella, Hank Finnegan, Gino Gallitto, Toby Marineau, Tyler Nichols, Cooper Pavlovich, Jayson Rankin, and Casey Snyder; sophomores Ryan Barry, Cory Benny, Joseph Bradley, and Kyle Colella; and freshmen Carson Brown, Jake Butler, Noah Grace, Noah Hester, Matthew Johnson, Nicolas Rothman, and Nicholas Scalzo.
Nick Hahn is in his second season at as head coach of the Rams Old Saybrook’s assistant coaches are Jon Reinecke and Steve Woods.
For the remainder of the season, Old Saybrook has home games against Hale-Ray, East Hampton, Morgan, Westbrook, Hall, and St. Bernard. The Rams will also be on the road to face Bacon Academy, Valley Regional, North Branford, Hale-Ray, East Hampton, Old Lyme, Portland, and Coginchaug.
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