WATERLOO — A player’s value to his or her team many times is measured beyond statistics.
Waterloo Columbus junior Ben Sinnott has been that kind of athlete, whether earning all-state honors for the football team or helping the Waterloo Warriors hockey team win state and advance to the national championships.
His leadership is once again shining with the Sailor baseball (21-13-1) team that is showing signs of being a contender when postseason play begins next week.
“He brings the team along with him with his attitude,” Columbus head coach Mark Gallagher said. “It is pretty infectious. He is a competitive kid, and a lot of that stems from hockey.
“But kids gravitate toward him. He is the first one after a game who asks the kids where they want to go. He is the one who helps build the team by spending time with all of the kids. We are a 2A school so we’ve got five age groups that are on our roster, and Ben is the one that draws them all together.”
Sinnott, who leads the Sailors with a .409 batting average, 15 doubles, three triples, two home runs and 32 runs batted in while also stealing 13 bases, says team building is a product of wanting to win.
“I just think it is important that everyone is working as a unit, that everyone feels involved,” said the 6-foot-3, 215-pound lefthanded batter. “If you are working together you are going to get a lot more done, and I want everyone to feel like a part of that.”
So whether it is postgame fast food stops or marathon video game sessions or trips to the pool, it’s not a party of two or three. It’s usually a party of 21 Sailors, from the junior varsity to varsity.
And as good as Sinnott has been outside of competition in building strong teams that work together, he’s been especially good on the gridiron, ice or diamond.
His play as a defensive lineman and tight end (he had 12 TFLs and six sacks as well as eight touchdown catches) helped lead Columbus to one of its best seasons in nearly a decade with a 7-2 record as he earned all-state honors.
You have free articles remaining.
Sinnott quickly transitioned into hockey where he set a Midwest High School Hockey League record with 54 goals as part of a 92-point season as the Warriors went 29-2-0-1 while winning the MHSHL tournament.
Then he participated in track and golf in the spring before baseball season opened, all while achieving a grade-point average above 4.0.
On the baseball diamond, Sinnott, who has grown eight inches and added 80 pounds since he was a freshman, is leading Columbus offensively despite seeing few hitable pitches as teams try to pitch around his powerful bat. In the field, he has played first base, third base and catcher.
Sinnott hits the ball so hard that Columbus has had to erect what is now affectionately referred to as the Great Wall of Sinnott, a 20-foot high net behind the right field fence at Sulentic Field.
“That is what we call it,” Gallagher said. “It got to a point in batting practice he was hitting balls 30 and 40 feet past the fence ... so we put up the net, which is elevated even more by topography, to help keep some balls in and it still doesn’t help.
“Certain kids have that sound when it comes off the bat. It’s different, it sounds different than everyone else, and he is one of those kids.”
With his size and success spread across three different sports, opportunities have developed for Sinnott beyond high school. He’s already fielding many offers to play college football and both he and Gallagher hope college baseball programs will enter the fray, too.
“I’d really like baseball to work out. Right now, football is where the most opportunities are,” Sinnott said.
“I think he is one of those kind of off the radar kids because he doesn’t do all that Perfect Game stuff because he is so busy with other activities,” Gallagher added. “But I really think he is the total package. I’m kind of slanted because I’m his coach, but I think he has a real passion for baseball and sees the highest ceiling for that.”