March 27, 2014

Prep Baseball: Sane taking his drive to Chattanooga State

By Chris Whitfield
chriswhitfield@daltoncitizen.com

— Grant Sane isn’t a player who is concerned with his stats or his individual accomplishments. He is more interested in doing whatever he can do for his Dalton High School baseball team to be successful.

That is probably one of the biggest reasons that he will be playing at the next level after he graduates in May. Surrounded by friends, family and teammates, Sane signed an athletic scholarship with Chattanooga State Community College on Monday in the Dalton High commons area.

“It has been a little bit of a relief knowing that I don’t have to worry about it anymore,” Sane said of finalizing his plans for college. “I can concentrate the rest of the year on baseball, and making the playoffs. Making a run in the state playoffs is one of the goals this team has always had. I am looking forward to helping us get there.”

Making the state playoffs is one thing that has eluded Sane and the Catamounts during his four years in the program. And he said that while he is happy to finally have a destination for college, he is still looking for more wins and getting better each game.

“I try to play the game hard every day,” he said. “It isn’t really taking any pressure off of me because I put a lot of pressure on myself. I just want to continue working hard and go deep in state.”

Dalton is currently 9-3 overall and 4-0 in Sub-region 7B-4A play after Wednesday’s 11-1 mercy rule win over Ridgeland in five innings. Sane, the No. 4 hitter in the order, is hitting .485 with two homers, seven doubles, nine walks and 11 RBIs.

While hitting obviously hasn’t been a problem for Sane this season, it is impressive that he has put up such numbers while learning a new position.

A third baseman as a junior, Sane has taken over behind the plate this season. It has taken some getting used to, but he has been successful handling Dalton’s pitching staff.

“It is definitely a lot different than playing at third,” he said. “As a third baseman, your main responsibility is just to field the ball and throw the guy out at first. Behind the plate there are a lot more responsibilities. It is controlled chaos, and I am continuing to learn how to be a better catcher every day.”

Dalton coach Shane Ramsey said that having Sane as a leader in the coach’s first two years with the program has been invaluable.

“There is no kid I have ever coached who works as hard as Grant does,” Ramsey said. “He is the kind of kid you want to build your program on. You want the other kids to see his work ethic and his desire to get better.”

“We aren’t 9-3 right now without Grant. Even changing positions and putting him behind the plate, he took to it,” Ramsey said. “He wants to be great. We have all seen kids with a lot of talent, but they don’t put in the work to get better. Grant has talent and he wants to work as hard as he can to use that talent. We have been lucky to have a kid like Grant.”

At Chattanooga State, Sane expects to return to the infield, but he said that having the experience of playing behind the plate will allow the Tigers to use him at other positions if they wish.

“They will probably move me back to the hot corner, but I will play wherever they want me to play,” he said. “Anything I need to do to get on the field, I will do it.”

Chattanooga State is a two-year college and a member of the National Junior College Athletic Association and plays in the Tennessee Community College Athletic Association. The Tigers are 16-9 overall this season and 9-6 in the TCCAA. The team is riding a three-game winning streak going into this weekend’s series against Roane State Community College.

“It has always been such a great program,” Sane said of the Tigers. “They have a good history and a great coach. I am really looking forward to going up there. The entire coaching staff is incredible, and I really liked the players that I have gotten a chance to meet.”

Sane has been in contact with coach Greg Dennis since his junior season and said scholarship discussions came in the middle of this past football season. Sane was the Cats’ long snapper in football. He also had baseball scholarship offers from Andrew College and Covenant College.