Sunday, September 20, 2020

Sports Person of the Week

Colella Has Huge Junior Season for Old Saybrook

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Old Saybrook’s Jack Colella was named the runner-up for Shoreline Conference Player of the Year Award this spring. Jack batted at a .490 clip for the Rams in his junior season. Photo courtesy of David Colella

Old Saybrook’s Jack Colella was named the runner-up for Shoreline Conference Player of the Year Award this spring. Jack batted at a .490 clip for the Rams in his junior season. (Photo courtesy of David Colella )

Rising senior Jack Colella is looking to continue his progression on the baseball field after putting together a stellar junior season with Old Saybrook this spring. Jack earned All-Shoreline Conference and All-State honors on behalf of the Rams and was also named runner-up for the conference’s Player of the Year Award.

“I always drive to be the best player. Being recognized as Player of the Year runner-up is definitely a humbling accomplishment, because it’s usually for the seniors,” says Jack. “That confirms the hard work I’m putting in is starting to pay off.”

Jake prides himself on his quick bat and fast feet whenever he takes the field. Jack had 12 hits, including a home run, to go with three stolen bases as a freshman, after which he batted .489 with a homer, six doubles, and 15 RBI during his sophomore season. This year, Jack posted a .490 batting average with six doubles, five triples, and 15 RBI for Old Saybrook. He’s only struck out eight times between the last two seasons combined.

“Whenever I go up to bat, I go in with the mindset that I’m the best hitter in the Shoreline Conference. I think that confidence has given me the results I’ve had. Knowing that the pitcher can’t strike me out is definitely the mindset that has allowed me to hit right under .500,” Jack says. “Ever since Little League, hitting has been my strong suit. I remember when I was 12, I hit 13 home runs in Little League. As a freshman and sophomore, I was the only player on the team to hit a home run. I hit in the three hole and have fun doing it.”

Jack has put in plenty of work in order to develop his prowess at the plate. He’s added 30 pounds of muscle since starting high school, and that’s proved hugely beneficial to Jack on all ends of the diamond.

“Ever since my freshman year, I’ve been working out three or four times per week, and I think that has made me more powerful and much stronger. My power from the plate has come naturally over the past three years, and gaining 30 pounds has increased my power,” says Jack. “Our home field doesn’t have a fence, so whenever I get the ball over somebody’s head, I’m on second or third because of my speed. If we had a fence, I might have more home runs.”

Old Saybrook Head Coach Nick Hahn says that Jack’s natural athleticism and exemplary attitude make him a true pleasure to work with.

“Jack is one of the best athletes I’ve ever coached. He has speed, elite bat-to-ball skills, and is very difficult to strike out. All that combined with his power, he’s a high-level baseball player,” says Hahn. “He has a high baseball IQ and is one of those guys we expect to be a true leader on the field, in the classroom, and in the weight room. We expect big things and so does he. He puts a lot of pressure on himself, and our players around him feed off that leadership.”

While Jack is primarily a second baseman, he also played some games at third base this year. Jack’s arm strength made him a nice fit at the hot corner, although he wound up settling back in to his familiar spot at second.

“It was definitely different, because it was my first year committing to play third. I understood why coach moved me to third base, but he eventually moved me back to second, because we had a stronger core middle infield with me at second,” Jack says. “Second base is my natural position because of my quick reaction time and my speed getting to balls hit up the middle. Having a strong arm helps turning the double play and relaying balls in from the cutoff.”

Aside from baseball, Jack plays striker on the Old Saybrook boys’ soccer team and also competes for the indoor track squad. Looking ahead to his senior year on the ballfield, Jack wants to help the Rams claim a pair of championships.

“I’d like to be Shoreline Player of the Year and go All-State and All-Conference, but more importantly, I want to lead my team to a Shoreline championship and, hopefully, a state championship,” says Jack. “That’s definitely the main two goals right there. Personal goals are smaller goals to the big goal.”

Jack says that he’s thinking about playing baseball in college. Jack appreciates all the encouragement that he receives from his father David and knows that his dad’s support will be critical if he decides to continue his career at the collegiate level.

“My dad is one of the main reasons why I’ve been so successful,” Jack says. “Ever since Little League, he’s been at every single one of my games cheering me on, and I honestly think having support like that is what made me the player I am today.”


PJ Foti covers sports for East Haven and North Branford for Zip06. Email PJ at pj.foti@shorepublishing.com.

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