When Housatonic’s Willy Yahn steps on the baseball field, he knows a couple of things, he will have fun, he will leave everything he has on the field and he will go home with the dirtiest uniform.
“Playing that way is the most fun way possible,” Yahn, a senior, said. “Anything you do in sports, you should love it.”
Yahn doesn’t believe in giving anything less than 100% and his mother Joanie has called him the “Energizer Bunny,” because he doesn’t have, believe, in an off switch.
“You don’t want to be the average player that a gets a hit every now and then,” he said. “You want to be the best player on the field, who will do anything to help his team win.”
This season Yahn did that, leading the Mountaineers from an eight win team in 2013 to one of the top teams in the Berkshire League this season.
“It shows how important last year was, for everyone to get experience; Coach (Darryl) Morhardt did a great job with us,” he said. “It was fun to watch the development the last two years.”
The Mountaineers, finished the regular season with a 13-7 record, before losing to Old Lyme in the first round of the state tournament, and even though it was a disappointing finish, Yahn couldn’t be happier with how his team did.
“We weren’t flashy, we did our jobs,” he said. “Everyone bought into the team comradery.”
Most will look at his numbers as the Mountaineers’ ace pitcher, going 8-2 with a 1.67 ERA and 104 strikeouts, and star infielder, who batted .587 with five home runs, nine doubles, and five triples, Yahn also played at a high level off the field with his teammates.
Whether it was getting them to work out at the Hit Club in Thomaston, in the off season, or leading by example for his teammates or being someone the younger players in the program could look up to.
After a walk-off loss to Thomaston, after the Mountaineers came back in the final two innings to tie the game, they would lose in the bottom of the seventh with Yahn on the mound.
The game was played on a Saturday afternoon, with a junior varsity game to be played after and instead of going home or sulking about the loss, Yahn ran out there to coach first base during the game and ran down foul balls which are usually saved for underclassman.
“Those JV games are important, we just like to talk baseball,” he said. “It’s great to be there, it’s a fun environment to be a part of.”
In that loss to Thomaston, Yahn also threw on the catchers gear for the first time since middle school, because his team needed him to.
“It was fun, a little tough at the beginning,” he laughed. “It gets you more involved in the game.”
For the past two seasons, Yahn was honored as the Berkshire League’s top pitcher and every time he stepped on the mound he knew he would get the best that his opposition had to offer and that made the game more fun.
“It drives me to be zoned in for every at bat, it makes the game more intense and more fun,” Yahn said. “I like it; I want to beat them every time.”
At the plate, Yahn was the one batter that teams prevented from letting them beat him, though it didn’t always work.
In a 4-2 win against Northwestern, Yahn allowed a home run in the top of the fifth to allow the Highlanders to tie the game at 2-2.
After he got out of the inning, Yahn would lead off the bottom of the fifth inning with a long home run of his own, giving the Mountaineers’ the lead for good.
“I am going to go out there and try and hit it right back up the middle,” he said. “Home runs are just line drives that you get under.”
Yahn will be continuing his career at UConn come fall and he is very excited about joining the Huskies and with all the success that Yahn has had already on the baseball field, he appreciates everything.
“It’s an absolutely beautiful game, I’ll watch it, play it, any way I can be a part of it,” he said. “I never know how long I will play, I always enjoy playing it.”