Prep Baseball Report

'It's Go Time' For Undersized Hines, Now A Central Commit

Bruce Hefflinger
PBR New England Senior Writer

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'It's Go Time' For Undersized Hines, Now A Central Commit

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Ryan Hines SS / 2B / Berlin, CT / 2023

KENSINGTON, Ct. - Interest as a 2023 was minimal. So Ryan Hines decided to reclassify “to get bigger and stronger.”

But plans changed when Central Connecticut State invited the Berlin High School senior to a camp.

“A week later they offered me as a 2023,” related Hines, whose interest until that point had been with San Francisco, Fairleigh Dickinson, Wagner and a number of Division III schools, all as a 2024 should reclassification take place.

“They like the way I play,” noted the 5-11 145-pound middle infielder about Central. “They know I’m a little undersized, I’m not the ideal size for a kid to go play D-I. But they said, “we don’t look at you and think you’d play the way you play.” They said they were going to take a shot at me. Now I just have to prove myself.”

That is something the 230th-rated New England senior has been doing his whole life.

“It’s a huge motivator,” Hines admitted. “It was definitely stressful before, with coaches saying you’re undersized. But I knew I could play if someone would take a shot at me. Now it’s go time.”

The recently turned 18-year-old understands what is needed.
“Strength,” Hines said. “I’m definitely an above average hitter but I’m more of a gap and singles guy. Once I get stronger I can elevate my game with more arm strength and speed.”

It was only a few years back when interest in playing beyond high school began to become a reality.

“I knew I wanted to play college baseball after my freshman season,” Hines said. “It’s been my dream since I was little, but that was when I started to take it seriously.”

It took place, despite hearing he was “too small” by so many.

“It sucked, no one was recruiting me, but I knew I had the ability and skill set,” the 11th-rated senior shortstop in Connecticut reflected. “It was hard going into my senior year with nothing, but I’m blessed that Central took a shot at me and saw the potential in me.”

A first-year Central assistant coach had a part in that.

“I played with Bob Nenna since I was 15 and now he’s an assistant,” Hines related. “My family ended up building a great relationship with all of the coaches.”

Improvement also proved vital in getting an opportunity at the next level.
“I was running a 7.3 60 going into my  junior year,” Hines said. “I’ve been working out at Lift Performance and they clocked me now at 6.8. I also had knee surgery in the summer, which was hard to overcome. I lost weight but I put it back on and got a lot stronger. My arm strength and exit velo are higher.”

It has the 30th-rated 2023 shortstop in New England confident about what he can do playing in the Northeast Conference program.

“I’ll definitely bring a good bat to the lineup,” Hines said. “That’s the best part of my game. I still have to work on my fielding, but I’ll be good vocally, helping everyone out, and I’m a good leader.”

Undecided on a major, the 3.0 student at Berlin calls the commitment to Central “an amazing feeling” to have.

“I remember calling my parents after they offered,” Hines related. “It was very emotional. It’s always been my dream to play college baseball and to go through everything and not be recruited, to be committed and know where I’m going feels so great.

“I’m so looking forward to being on a college team, one that wins a lot,” Hines concluded. “I’m excited about that and meeting new people. My teammates will be friends for life.”

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