Greely catcher Ryan Kolben named Maine’s Mr. Baseball

Ryan Kolben was one-half of Greely High School’s pitching duo this spring as the Rangers returned to the Class B South championship game, 18-2.

But, as it has been since his initiation to the sport more than a decade ago, Piston’s baseball passion is catching and a big reason the 6-foot-1, 195-pound senior has become the 30th recipient of the Dr. John W. Winkin Award symbolic of Maine’s Mr. Baseball Wednesday night.

“I’ve been catching my entire life, from Farm League and Little League to now,” said Piston, who plans to continue working behind the plate at the University of Massachusetts.

“I can catch the ball anywhere, I’m always in the game. I’ve never really enjoyed being in infield and not getting the ball, or in outfield the same way. There is always action.”

Kolben’s honor was announced between games of the Maine High School Baseball Coaches Association Senior All-Star Doubleheader, played at Saint Joseph’s College in Standish.

“It means a lot to me,” said Kolben, only the second Greely player to receive this award after Brandon Brewer in 1997. “I couldn’t be happier to have the kind of hardware that shows it pays.”

Kolben, also a Western Maine Conference Class B South Player of the Year, was one of two Mr. Baseball finalists from Cumberland Center’s Greely along with pitcher Zach Johnston, who is transferring to Wake Forest University this fall.

Other finalists included pitcher-outfielder Cody Bowker from Class A State Champion Thornton Academy in Saco, pitcher-outfielder Colton Trisch from Bangor, pitcher-infielder Ty Giberson from Class C State Champion Bucksport, pitcher-infielder Hunter Brissette from Lisbon High School and Pitcher – Freeport High School outfielder Blaine Cockburn.

Kolben committed verbally to attending UMass prior to his junior year at Greely, despite seeing limited varsity action as a freshman and then watching the 2020 season be canceled due to COVID-19.

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