By Mark Ambrogi
Grant Sawa didn’t start catching until practicing at the end of his freshman year.
The 2023 Center Grove High School graduate proved to be a quick learner.
“To see Grant grow has been very rewarding as a coach,” Trojans coach Keith Hatfield said. “He has only been catching a little over three years. In that short time he has turned himself into the best catcher in Indiana and one of the best leaders I have had at Center Grove.”
Sawa recently won a Johnny Bench Award for best high school catcher. Bench was a Hall of Fame catcher for the Cincinnati Reds.
“It wouldn’t be possible without my family, teammates and coaches,” Sawa said of the award. “But overall it just feels great to be recognized.
“I am passionate about the position because I think there is so many aspects of it, whether it’s how you catch the ball, blocking, or throwing.”
Sawa hit .317 with three home runs, three doubles and 17 runs batted in for the Trojans, who reached the IHSAA Class 4A state championship game before losing to Penn 2-0, June 17.
“The run to state was very special,” he said. “It’s something we have worked really hard for and deserved. It’s cool to look back on (and) see how all of our work came full circle.”
Sawa said the most improvement in his career has been in his athleticism.
“I wasn’t always the quickest or strongest growing up,” he said. “I have now been able to build my athleticism and I have better success with it.”
Sawa hit .279 as a sophomore and .281 as a junior. His freshman season in 2020 was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sawa said the key to his average climbing as a senior was confidence.
“I also worked with some people in the offseason that helped me a lot, but mostly just my confidence in myself,” he said.
Sawa will play baseball for Purdue Fort Wayne next season. Pitcher Caden Cornett, another 2023 Center Grove graduate, will join him at PFW. Sawa committed to PFW shortly before Cornett.
“It will be cool to play with Caden at PFW,” he said. “He is one of my good friends and we have grown up together.
Sawa is keeping his skills sharp by playing a couple of tournaments this summer for the PRP Mambas. He played basketball growing up but began focusing on just baseball in middle school.
THE SAWA FILE
NAME: Grant Sawa
CLASS: 2023 Center Grove High School graduate
COLLEGE PLANS: Playing baseball at Purdue Fort Wayne and studying finance
HOBBIES: Work out, fishing, hanging out with family and friends
FAVORITE SUBJECT: Math
FAVORITE ATHLETE: Anthony Rizzo
FAVORITE TV SHOW: “Designated Survivor”
FAVORITE MUSICIAN OR TYPE OF MUSIC: Drake
PARENTS’ NAMES: Steve and Nicole Sawa