Sometimes hard work can speed up a process. From the efforts to build one’s game on the baseball field, to cutting the time to rebuild after an injury. The work can be the catalyst to shortening the wait for a return to action. .
Such is the mindset of Danny Sadler, an uncommitted 2021 outfielder who attends J.H. Rose High School in Greenville, NC. He not only likes to go fast as he works on his physical preparation to perform, Danny likes to play the game fast – like really fast. And as a multi-sport athlete, who plays football and runs track, he likes to go fast no matter the season.
As a player with great speed, he admits he was greatly motivated to get back up to his previous level of play as soon as possible after he experienced an ACL tear that was repaired in February of 2019. Sadler was quickly back in action 5 ½ to 6 months after the surgery. While that may be fast, he is able to match it with his blazing speed; boasting a 60 yard dash time that is routinely around 6.5 seconds.
According to Danny, “I felt like I had all the work before (the injury) was taken away. I had to get after it.”
Having been a Dirtbag since his freshman year, Sadler missed the 2019 summer with the Bags but returned to the Bad Company squad coached by Brent Haynes in the fall. The use of his speed was an obvious tool that Haynes saw the junior using to his advantage.
“Danny Sadler is a quick twitch athlete who is really fun to watch go get balls in the outfield and go around the base paths,” said Haynes.
While that speed translates well on the diamond for Sadler, it is equally beneficial for him running winter track. Additionally, when the 5’9” 170-pounder lines up as a wide receiver or back fielding punts and kick-offs on the gridiron, the speed is a weapon for his team.
Sadler also sees his speed as an offensive tool when suited up as a baseball player. When he steps in the box, the right-handed hitter finds his best production goingl gap to gap and giving himself a chance to run. He even mentioned a knack for getting the ball on the ground and using the wheels to reach base.
Those approaches are not lost on Haynes, who commented, “Danny understands the type of player he is, which is a guy that doesn’t try to hit balls out of the park. But instead he will hit balls hard, on a line, gap to gap and create havoc on the base paths.”
Though Sadler assuredly has the pop to leave the yard, his main focus is to use his quicks to get on base. Using bunts, balls in the gap, or infield hits, it simply doesn’t matter. When told that his mentality is contrary to today’s conversations about launch angles and lift, he remarked he doesn’t worry about such and only wants to help the team win. And, by the way, if he get’s on first base, he’s stealing 2B regardless and 3B is a strong possibility.
It is tools like his baserunning IQ, and other mental skills, that Sadler credits his experiences with the Dirtbags as helping him develop. Also on the list is his approach at the plate to be more consistent in producing. That, according to Danny, has been in part a by-product of facing such high quality pitching as a part of a team full of talent. .
When asked how he became a Dirtbag, he credits his opportunity came as a result of working with longtime Dirtbags coach, Axel Smith, also of Greenville. Recognizing the impact of the tutelage, Sadler said, “He took me under his wing. He’s like a second dad.”
And he’s made himself into quite a player with the mentoring he’s received, from Smith, from Haynes and the Dirtbags, and undoubtedly from being a member of the Rose High School Rampants; a perennial state baseball power coached by the legendary Ronald Vincent.
While Sadler says the 2020 edition of the Rampants is seemingly young, they are out of the gate strong and aspire to make a deeper run than last year in the state play-offs. He sees the team chemistry of the close-knit junior heavy squad being an attribute.
If that sounds like a plan, the seventeen year old loves making them. In fact, he plans to leverage his spring and summer baseball adventures into a college commitment. Also in the plans are the continued visits to D1 programs in the region he considers “schools of interest”.
Sadler says the right program will be one who can produce a family culture and also provide top facilities. And this is one area Sadler doesn’t appear to be in a rush, as he knows the right fit will surely be obvious.
Haynes agrees and knows the yet to be determined school is getting more than a speedy outfielder. He said, “Whatever program gets this guy is going to get a great kid along with being a really good baseball player!”
Also, Sadler understands the concept of planning is important as he begins considering life beyond baseball. When making a school choice, he says the idea of building may be a top interest as he considers potential career options as an engineer or architect. Having taken engineering courses at Rose, he hopes his studies in the field will lead to a shadowing opportunity during the summer.
Though such an experience could be challenging with his busy schedule, Danny seems to love challenges. Being a multi-sport athlete offers plenty of them. But in each sport he actually sees the other sports being advantaged. For example, he appreciates the stamina provided by track when it comes to competing in baseball and football. And he also noted the mental toughness he builds when wearing a helmet and shoulder pads supports him as he faces adversity no matter the event. With that, he definitely plans to play all three sports next year as a senior.
Which just means the work and building will continue. And he knows just one speed to do it – fast!