The Union Recorder

April 19, 2013

JMA catcher is a difference maker

Kyle Collins
The Union-Recorder

MILLEDGEVILLE — Baseball's catching position stands close to pitching as the most vital for a team's success. John Milledge Academy baseball head coach Justin Mills said it might be more important in certain cases.

JMA senior Ryan Bresse looks comfortable with the coach on the field label.

“Ryan is a hard worker and a really smart baseball player. He is a catcher at heart. I can't see him playing any other position to be honest with, and I feel like he was born to be a catcher,” Mills said.

The talented Trojan agreed orchestrating behind the plate has always been his spot.

“It's something I've done all my life,” Bresse said. “That's my home.”

Bresse's game tunes in directly with the Trojan coaching staff and pitching rotation. Mills said he knows what pitch to call before the signal comes.

JMA's young pitchers do benefit from the senior Athlete of the Week's feel for the game. He enjoys the process as much as the result.

“The pitchers and I have a really good trust relationship. We work with each other in practice and get everything positioned right for the games,” Bresse said.

Players perform better on the mound with Bresse running the show.

“Pitchers are different when Bresse isn't behind the plate,” Mills said. “When he is there, it gives them the confidence they can throw anything they want to throw and trust the signal he gives them.”

Defensively, Bresse shines as one of GISA's best. His offense isn't shabby either hitting in the No. 4 spot.

The Trojan senior sports a .350 average and several home runs the last two seasons.

Bresse goes yard quite often in batting practice. Mills remembers the first homer at JMA calling it “eye-popping.”

The Athlete of the Week credits consistent tee work for his power.

Many athletes offer the statistics, but not all fit the leadership profile. The Trojan senior earned respect quickly from coach and teammates the last two seasons.

“(Bresse) is definitely one of the leaders on our team by his play and hard work. I don't only want players that work hard for me and I like, but it's nice to have players that teammates like. He has a good relationship with pretty much anybody he comes in contact with,” Mills said.

Considering JMA is out of the region championship race for the first time in six years, Bresse said the group hasn't stop believing.

The Trojans hope to ride more consistent play and hot bats into a state playoff run. JMA could use a region-winning streak to host the first round and extend the senior class ride.

“We've had our struggles, but we stay close,” the senior said.

Bresse's easygoing nature can't hide his fire when mentioning his ultimate college baseball goal.