FARMINGDALE — The recent weather has many high school athletes feeling anxious, but few are probably more anxious than Ryan Sinclair.

A senior on the Hall-Dale High School baseball team, Sinclair has been waiting since last May to get back on the diamond after his junior season was lost to a freak knee injury when he shattered his kneecap while fielding a ground ball in practice.

“I’m so anxious to get back out there. I only got about five games in last year and I’m used to playing on about four teams throughout the summer, getting in about 100 games in a year,” Sinclair said before Tuesday’s practice in the school’s gym. “It was tough. I’ve been away from it for too long. Each day I’m more and more anxious to play and get reps in on an actual field and start playing in real games again.”

Bob Sinclair, Hall-Dale’s head coach and Ryan’s father, described this past year as a roller coaster ride. The two had spent most springs and summers of Ryan’s life on a baseball diamond, with the elder Sinclair either coaching or watching. Instead, Ryan Sinclair spent this past summer rehabbing his knee.

He returned to play for the Hall-Dale soccer team this past fall, but said he was still leery of how much he could do on the field.

“The confidence wasn’t there. I was pretty shaky,” Ryan Sinclair said. “I was cautious making turns and stuff, which turning is what caused it to break.”


It was clear in his voice Tuesday that the confidence had returned. He skipped the basketball season this past winter to focus on baseball, both playing the game and working to gain strength in the weight room. Both Sinclairs agree Ryan has returned stronger despite the injury.

“It was a tough summer but I think we’ve all grown through this,” Bob Sinclair said. “He’s stronger because of it, not just physically but mentally as well.”

Bob Sinclair believes his son is poised for a breakout season, while Ryan added that hopes are high for the team as a whole.

“Each practice I want to be better. The guys are following along with that,” Ryan Sinclair said. “We know we have a lot of talent this year and if we can all stay healthy, we can do a lot of damage.”

Ryan Sinclair’s focus this spring will be on the field, but he is hoping this will not be the end of his journey in competitive baseball.

The knee injury cost him more than just his junior season. That year is typically critical in the recruiting process, and an incomplete is hardly what college coaches want to see in that time frame.


“Getting injured junior year in a spring sports season, it’s tough to come back from that and get noticed and taken seriously when you don’t have anything to show to coaches,” Ryan Sinclair said.

He looked at a few Division III schools, but that did not pan out. Instead, he will be hoping to follow the path of former central Maine standout baseball player Jake Lachance. Sinclair will attend Holy Cross in the fall, where he plans on trying out for the team.

“They’re D-I, so we’ll see how that goes. It’s a long shot,” Ryan Sinclair said. “It will be a struggle but I’m willing to give it a shot.”

Lachance had a similar attitude in 2010 after finishing up a standout baseball career at Cony High and preparing for his freshman year at Holy Cross. He, like Sinclair, wanted to go to a school where he would still be happy at even if it did not involve playing baseball.

“I was encouraged by the coaches to come out and walk on, but a spot wasn’t guaranteed or anything like that,” Lachance, 24, said by phone Tuesday. “I went down there, tried out during fall ball and ended up being the only position player to make the team for that season. I stuck out the season with them, did some of the dirty work, caught bullpens and stuff like that. It was a fantastic experience.”

Lachance played one season with the Crusaders and then elected to pursue other avenues on campus before graduating from the Worcester, Massachusetts college in 2014. He entered the Maine state police academy in January of 2015, graduated in May of that year and has been working at the South Portland Police Department since.


Lachance is still involved in the game, though, as he is an assistant coach with the South Portland High baseball team. He also plans to take some time to sit down with Ryan Sinclair this upcoming week to offer some advice, thanks to the arrangement of a mutual friend, Hall-Dale assistant coach Earl Kingsbury.

Lachance said the best advice he can give Sinclair is likely a lesson the Hall-Dale senior has already learned the hard way.

“It’s really just working hard and being the best practice player you can be. I know that’s one thing that helped me a lot,” Lachance said. “At the Division I level, I didn’t necessarily have the Division I skill but I had the Division I work ethic. Whether it be lifting weights in the gym or just doing whatever the coach asks you I think that’s pretty big in making the team.”

Evan Crawley — 621-5640

[email protected]

Twitter: @Evan_Crawley

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