Dartmouth College’s baseball team produced a highly successful season this past spring and Trystan Sarcone, a Greenwich resident, certainly pitched in to the team’s cause.
A 2018 Brunswick School graduate, Sarcone, a left-hander, found his niche on the mound for Dartmouth, posting a record of 6-4 with 49 strikeouts in 59 innings. The hard-throwing Sarcone led Dartmouth’s pitching staff in strikeouts, victories, won-loss percentage (.600), earned run average (4.85) and opposing batting average.
Coached by Bob Whalen, who has amassed more than 600 wins during his 33-year coaching tenure at the school, the Big Green finished with an overall record of 24-19 during the 2022 season, including a solid 14-7 mark in the Ivy League.
“I thought we had a great season,” Sarcone said. “Our team this past season was one of the best teams I have been on. We surpassed all of our own expectations and blew each other out of the water with how we came together as a team.”
Dartmouth just missed qualifying for the two-team 2022 Ivy League Tournament, with Columbia and the University of Pennsylvania edging it out for the two spots in the tournament’s championship series.
“We were 14-7 and still didn’t make the cut,” Sarcone said. “Sometimes it’s a little bit out of your hands. Columbia won 19 games in a row before they came up to see us. To finish off the season the way we did by beating Columbia was great.”
Dartmouth’s season-ending 12-11, 10-inning, comeback win against Columbia University, the eventual Ivy League champion, saw Sarcone earn the win in relief. After starting against Columbia the previous day, a game in which he pitched three innings, Sarcone pitched one scoreless inning of relief to help spark the Big Green to victory.
“I said ‘listen coach, I can give you an inning,'” Sarcone said. “I came in in the 10th inning and threw an inning on the last day of the season after pitching the day before and that was the coolest sports moment I had in my whole career.”
The Big Green overcame a 10-4 deficit by scoring four runs in the eighth inning, two in the ninth and two more in the 10th inning.
“That last game is the epitome of our team,” Sarcone said. “Down six in the eighth inning, we walked it off against the team that had the best winning percentage in our league.”
This past season marked Sarcone’s fourth year on the team, but he still has one season of eligibility remaining. Like all teams, Dartmouth’s 2020 season was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic – the squad played just seven games in 2020. Then in 2021, which was Sarcone’s junior year, the entire season was cancelled because of the COVID-19 epidemic.
Sarcone had to petition to be a fifth-year undergraduate student at Dartmouth, which would make him eligible to play another season of collegiate baseball. His petition was granted and like a lot of players at Dartmouth and schools around the nation, he will be eligible to play another year as a fifth-year senior.
As a freshman in 2019, Sarcone struck out more batters per nine innings than any Dartmouth pitcher (8.04 strikeouts per nine innings). He earned Ivy Rookie of the Week honors after pitching three shutout innings of relief in one of his first collegiate appearances, then experienced some challenging times on the mound, finishing the season 0-2 with a 9.64 ERA.
“I started off really well my freshman year,” he said. “I won Rookie of the Week and the next outing I threw well. Then there was a long period where I was in a lull. There were a couple of bad outings and mentally, it was challenging as well. Going into college, everyone at this level had a good amount of success, so dealing with that situation for the first time was really hard, but I have become so much of better player because of that.”
The 2020 season began in impressive fashion for Sarcone. He threw five innings, yielding just four hits and one run without a walk, while striking out a career-high eight batters, to earn his first collegiate victory, a 6-2 triumph over Chicago State. He also saw action out of the bullpen in the second of three games at Virginia, recording eight outs. Unfortunately, the 2020 season ended for Dartmouth after seven games and every team in the nation due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Then the entire 2021 season, which would have been Sarcone’s junior season, was cancelled because of COVID. He went 1-0 with a 3.52 ERA in 2020, leading the Big Green in strikeouts per nine innings (9.39).
“My goal for the 2020 season was to be a lot more consistent,” he said. “I had a really rough freshman year. Mentally I was struggling but I was in a different headspace my sophomore year. I was not afraid to fail, I pitched well the first weekend and pitched decently from there.”
Of course, not competing in games for the whole 2021 season and most of 2020 was difficult to handle for all collegiate athletes accustomed to playing a full schedule of events each season.
“Having that 2021 season cancelled was frustrating and disappointing,” Sarcone said. “The class of 2021 lost their junior in 2020 and their senior year. Only a couple of guys repeated in 2022. It was heartbreaking for them and we didn’t get to see them that much.”
Sarcone and his Dartmouth teammates did all they could to sharpen their skills and remain active during the COVID-19 pandemic, which last almost two seasons.
“We always trained like we were going to have a season,” he said. “We played in a scrimmage league against Harvard kids and other kids up in Boston. We would throw live at-bats, it was very informal and very low stakes.”
While at Brunswick School, Sarcone was a key part of the Bruins’ 2018 team that finished with a 17-5 record and won the FAA Tournament championship. He was a 2018 Perfect Game All-Northeast Region Honorable Mention selection and a 2017 All-Connecticut Baseball First Team and Perfect Game Preseason Underclassman All-America Honorable Mention Selection.
A four-year varsity player for Johnny Montanez’s Bruins squad, Sarcone helped the team win two other FAA titles in his first two seasons, as Brunswick went 38-4, including a 28-0 mark in the league.
Dartmouth’s 2022 season saw Sarcone pitch in 12 games, making 11 starts. One of his finest performances came against Ivy League rival Cornell on April 23 when he struck out 10 batters in eight innings in a 12-2 win. He also registered seven strikeouts in seven-plus innings in a 2-1 victory over Penn (April 3) and struck out seven betters in six innings of work against Princeton (one earned run in six innings in team’s 11-6 victory, April 16), showing consistency with all of his pitches.
“My slider was the most consistent pitch for me,” Sarcone said. “That was my go-to pitch to lean on. It was consistent throughout the season and I was able to play my fastball off of that. My change-up is my best pitch and my slider is a very close second.”
A government major modified with economics, Sarcone has learned plenty from the coaches during his time at Dartmouth.
“The coaching staff has been amazing, coach Whelan our head coach, has been a great resource and a mentor,” he said. “He offers a helping hand with whatever it is in school. He puts you first before anything, he knows a ton about baseball and has a great baseball mind. He is really, really good at making you get the best out of yourself and making you push yourself.”
“Coach Mac (Blake McFadden) our pitching coach is unbelievable,” Sarcone continued. “He played at Kansas State (where he received numerous pitching honors) and he knows so much about the game. I’ve had an unbelievable experience with the coaching staff.”
Indeed, Sarcone quickly saw how difficult it can be to successful pitch at the collegiate level.
In college, there is not as much of a drop off at certain parts of the lineup, if any,” he said. “Any hitter, 1-9 in the order, can do damage.”
He also adjusted to the busy schedule a student-athlete has.
“It is a full-time job,” Sarcone said of being a collegiate athlete. “You have to balance school, family, athletics and a social life. In an Ivy League school it takes a lot out of you, but it’s something I got used to pretty fast. I’ve learned a lot about time management.”
Sarcone, who will graduate from Dartmouth in the spring of 2023, was chosen as one of the team’s two captains for the squad’s 2023 season.
“It’s a huge honor and something I’ve always wanted,” he said. “My goals for the team would be to win an Ivy League championship. My second goal would be to continue building the winning culture we started. This past year, our team had a winning culture. The captains taught us how to include the younger guys. Everyone was treated the same and that created such a good culture on the team, which is why we won so much. We may not have been the most talented team, but we were the grittiest team.”
Categories: College Sports
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