Whitman-Hanson Regional High baseball senior Ryan Sawtelle is making his presence felt this season.
When asked of senior catcher Ryan Sawtelle’s impact on his team this season, Whitman-Hanson Regional High baseball skipper Pat Cronin didn’t hesitate one bit.
“I can’t say enough about Ryan Sawtelle,” Cronin said. “He’s an assistant coach on the field. He knows what I’m trying to do. He understands the signals. He’s a Steady Eddie.”
Cronin even compared Sawtelle, who is in his first year starting, to a former Boston Red Sox legend.
“He leads quietly,” Cronin said. “He’s kind of like a Jason Varitek kind of guy honestly. He’s that kind of a guy.
“I kid him sometimes when I see his teeth and I can actually make him smile. He’s just a very low-grade, easy-going guy who doesn’t speak very much, but he’s very dependable.”
While Sawtelle may be a quiet leader, he’s quietly putting together an all-star season. Sawtelle entered the week leading the Panthers, who are in second place in the Patriot League Keenan Division, with a .407 average and .514 on-base percentage.
“I wasn’t aware of that, but I feel pretty confident up there,” Sawtelle said when told his stat line. “I’m not really thinking about the numbers or anything. I’m just trying to do it for the team and drive some runs in.”
Last week, Sawtelle, who is committed to play baseball at Vermont’s Castleton University, tallied four hits and recorded three RBIs. He notched three hits and knocked in two runs in an 11-2 victory over Silver Lake Wednesday, May 9.
“We just took them like any other team — take them serious and see what they bring us and we’ll bring our hardest out there,” Sawtelle said of Silver Lake.
Sawtelle’s numbers at the dish may be impressive, but so is his work behind it as he directs a staff with one of the lowest ERAs in the Patriot League.
“Ryan is a great catcher, I love him back there,” senior captain James Dolan, who has been playing with Sawtelle since the two were 7 years old, said. “Coach lets him take the reins sometimes [and] call the pitches because he’s just very smart back there. He’s just a great catcher, I love it.”
Cronin described Sawtelle, who threw out a runner in the fourth inning of a 3-0 win against Hingham last Thursday, as another piece of the puzzle that’s waited its turn to fill in.
“He’s another guy that’s been there for three years with us and he’s worked his way through,” Cronin said. “We knew he had a good arm [and] he had a swing that was bigger than it should have been, so he just needed reps and he needed to play.”
Dolan said Sawtelle has been immense to the success of the Panthers, who entered the week with a seven-game winning streak and 9-1 record before a 4-2 league loss to Plymouth North on Monday, a game in which Sawtelle had an RBI double.
“He really took control of this team,” Dolan said. “You can see him back there, he’s always calling the outs [and] keeping everybody motivated. [He’s a] great teammate [and] great hitter. He’s going off this year.”
Although Sawtelle may not be outspoken, he does have the utmost respect from his coaches and teammates.
“You don’t hear a lot of out him, but when you do – you listen,” Cronin said.