Greenport will go into the 2016 high school baseball season with the same catcher, but he is a different person, in a sense. Keegan Syron is bigger. Noticeably bigger.
Motivated by a desire to play college football, Syron committed himself to a weight-training program after this past football season. The product of that work should benefit the baseball team.
As he strode toward the baseball field for practice on Wednesday, Syron looked like a different person — older, stronger, and, oh yes, definitely broader. At 6-foot-1, 220 pounds, he makes for an imposing figure behind home plate.
“He’s jacked,” Greenport coach Mike Sage said. “He looks like a grown man.”
Syron trains before and after school five days a week, and also works out once on Saturdays. The junior said he has noticed a difference and is happy with his progress.
“I feel a lot bigger,” he said. “I feel a lot harder, stronger. It will definitely help my throwing strength, my hitting strength. Maybe I’ll hit a couple of more home runs this year.”
Sage expects the new and improved Syron’s physical fitness to be a plus in every way.
“If you have a fit body, you can do lots of things well,” the coach said. “You’re going to throw well. You’re going to move well. You’re going to be less susceptible to injury.”
Syron bounced back and forth between the varsity and junior varsity teams as a freshman before securing the starting catcher job last year as a sophomore. He batted anywhere from fourth to sixth in the order, but is projected to bat cleanup this year. Last year he belted two home runs. It stands to reason that he will bring more power to the plate this year.
“I think his hitting power is going to be off the charts when he makes contact,” said shortstop Jordan Fonseca.
Sage said Syron “was excellent defensively. He had a tough time throwing guys out at second and getting the ball down to second. We’re working on that really, really hard already this year.”
That means working on Syron’s footwork and release. Sage said Syron is good at blocking balls in the dirt.
Greenport went 5-15 last year and was at times its own worst enemy with errors. The Porters expect to see improvement in their defense this season.
“I’m a lot more comfortable with our defense on any given day this year than I was last year,” said Sage, who added, “The assumed outs have to be made.”
Sage likes his outfield, which will be manned at different times by Ryan Costello, Jake Skrezec, Sean Sepenoski and Bayron Rivas.
“I think the outfield got a lot stronger than the previous years,” said Fonseca.
With Fonseca at shortstop and Jack Webster at first, the second base and third base positions need to be settled. Matt Tuthill, Tashan Lawrence and Remi Droskoski are under consideration.
“I think we just need to take care of not throwing the ball away, making good plays,” Fonseca said. “Last year we kind of looked sloppy. I think we need to clean it up this year.”
Photo caption: Keegan Syron’s commitment to a weight-training program has made the Greenport catcher bigger and stronger. (Credit: Garret Meade)