Junior class leading Ravens baseball through growing pains

Published on Tuesday, 18 May 2021 19:39
Written by Ryan Ames


NEW BRITAIN – Leadership goes a long way on any sports team, but this year’s Innovation baseball squad has the unique situation of not carrying a single senior on the roster.

With that, the Ravens’ junior class has stepped up to serve as the de-facto leaders on a team that features mostly freshmen.

“It’s different because when I played freshman year there were always seniors there,” Yonathan Ramos said. “I was like the young’un and now all of a sudden I’m the oldest one on the team.”

“There’s no seniors, you can’t rely on the seniors to do everything so I mean we’re basically, if we’re up to bat, we got to go off,” Adam Renta said.

Ramos and Renta make up half of Innovations 11-grade group and have important roles every game. Batting third and fourth in the Ravens’ lineup, the duo is counted on to provide the offensive punch.

Monday, neither Ramos nor Renta recorded a hit in Innovation’s 7-0 loss to Civic Leadership, proving just how important their production is.

“In the beginning of the game you don’t really feel that pressure,” Ramos said. “Let’s say we’re down one and we need something, then in the back of your mind you’re thinking ‘ok, let me get a good swing on the ball.’”

“Either the top of our lineup produces or we don’t produce,” Ravens coach Ben Krier said. “That’s kind of what it’s come down to in a couple different games for us.”

On the field, limiting mistakes has been Innovation’s goal from the get-go, given most of the fielders haven’t played on a regulation-sized diamond before.

“In my experience, it’s my first year, the team that makes the fewest mistakes seems to win more often than not,” Krier said. “We just got to clean up some things in the field, drive more runs in and just [find] consistency all around.

Last year’s cancelled season certainly didn’t help matters for the Ravens as that consistent output has been a work in progress this year. With the help of the juniors, instilling good habits and proper techniques during practice helps Innovation now, and also in the future.

“It’s good because in practice you can show them and tweak [things],” Ramos said. “It’s just learning experience but it’s good to know that next year, we’re all still going to be here.”

“A lot of kids haven’t even played baseball before this so for them to go and play for another two years, we’re going to be fine,” Renta said.

Finding enough players to field a team was even a challenge early on, making Innovation’s improvement even more noteworthy.

“Every game you can see the progression from everybody else,” Ramos said. “More people in the lineup would be hitting than just one, two three, four. More than half of them are freshmen so, it’s a good experience to play varsity baseball.”

“The team that we were in our first game is a very, very, very different team than who we are today,” Krier said. “Still growing pains because we are a young team, but we are a much, much, much better team than we were when we first took the field this year.”

According to Krier, his leaders have also played an active role in the progression of the rest of the team.

“I have been beyond impressed with the leadership that my juniors have demonstrated,” Krier said. “They’ve really taken on a coaching role and they really want to see everybody get better. It’s been my favorite part.”

Innovation (4-4) will host Capital Prep next on Wednesday at 3:30 p.m.

Ryan Ames can be reached at 860-801-5094 or on Twitter @_RyanAmes.

Posted in New Britain Herald, Innovation on Tuesday, 18 May 2021 19:39. Updated: Tuesday, 18 May 2021 19:41.