Bryan Torresani, currently serving as the baseball coach at Arcadia University near Philadelphia, spent three seasons as a catcher and first baseman for the Elizabethtown College Blue Jays from 2004-06.
He played in 106 career games, including 42 his senior year in which Elizabethtown won the Commonwealth Conference Championship and advanced to the NCAA Division III Tournament.
Following his graduation, Torresani has made coaching stops at Hatboro-Horsham High School (his alma mater), Chestnut Hill College, La Salle University and Immaculata University before being named the seventh coach of Arcadia in the Division III era.
As with any new coach, Torresani stepped into a situation where he was coaching players that he did not necessarily recruit and must form a bond with his new players.
One freshman that he was able to form a bond with was Jeremy Sabathne, an Elizabethtown Area High School graduate who pitches for Arcadia.
“I probably bring up the Elizabethtown connection more to him than he does to me, but that common ground was helpful to bridge that gap. We had a lot of common connections that got us off on the right foot,” Torresani said.
“It made him a lot easier to talk to. Other than him being my coach, it gave me something to relate to him,” Sabathne said.
Arcadia pitching coach Jimmy Gulden began recruiting Sabathne before Torresani was tabbed to lead the program. Sabathne traveled to an Arcadia camp in January to throw a bullpen session for Gulden and the program took interest in the wiry right-hander soon after.
Sabathne, listed at 6-foot-2 and 175 pounds, pitched 41 innings and amassed 23 strikeouts to go along with a 2.85 ERA in his freshman season. It was the third most innings on the team and something that neither Torresani or Sabathne expected.
“In the fall he wasn’t on the forefront of our mind as a guy that would carry the workload. His first start was against Amherst, who is always competitive, in Florida and he reacted well when he was thrown into the fire,” Torresani said.
In that start, Sabathne tossed 5 innings with three strikeouts, six hits, no walks and two earned runs.
“I was only pitching one or two innings in relief in the spring. That start surprised me, but I knew it was a moment to make an impression and continue to pitch. The innings were something that I didn’t expect, but hoped to achieve. Coach Torresani probably didn’t even think I would get that many innings,” Sabathne said.
Torresani credited Sabathne’s ability to consistently throw three pitches for strikes in any count and work ethic in gym as reasons why Sabathne was so effective.
“He has a pitcher’s body and he really worked hard in the weight room. He put on about 15 pounds,” Torresani said.
The biology/pre-physical therapy major is preparing for a sophomore season in which hitters will be seeing him for the second time around. He and his coach are aware that he must continue to develop ways to get batters out.
Sabathne throws a fastball that sits in the low 80s, but can touch 83-85, a curveball and changeup. He also threw a slider in high school that he did not use nearly as often at the collegiate level.
“I’m trying to get bigger and stronger. In high school I was a relatively skinny kid. You get hurt when your pitches are over the middle, so I’m trying to fine-tune my pitches and hit my spots,” Sabathne said.
“It helps to know that our coaches believe in you. They know you have potential and aren’t afraid to send you back out there if you have a bad start.”