06/17/2022 6:51 AM
Article By: Josh Schwam
Cape Cod’s rich baseball tradition extends beyond the 10 CCBL diamonds for Ryan Proto and his family.
Proto’s father, Dan, is the president of Team Cape Cod in the Senior Babe Ruth summer baseball league. The league provides players aged 13-18 competitive competition and the opportunity to compete for their town and region on the national stage.
The 2019 season saw Ryan compete for his father and lead the group to the Babe Ruth World Series in Mobile, Alabama. It was Dan’s 11th New England Region championship in his first 13 seasons.
Despite falling in the World Series, the experience embodied the presence of baseball on the cape, “It was definitely a lot of fun,” Proto said. “We came up short, but it was a great experience to represent Cape Cod.”
Proto was born in Centerville, MA and attended Barnstable High School. The Redhawks baseball diamond sits less than three miles from McKeon Park, home of the Hyannis Harbor Hawks.
Currently a catcher for the University of Massachusetts-Lowell, Proto is in his second season with the league. Last year, he competed with Hyannis and in 2022, he has made two starts in three games for the Bourne Braves.
Proto saw limited action as a Harbor Hawk in 2021, appearing in 14 games from July 16 - August 3. In his 46 at-bats, he hit .239 with two walks, three steals and five RBI.
His fortune changed with the Braves early in 2022. Proto is 2-6 to open the season with two RBI, a walk and a run scored. He appeared in the Braves’ first two contests of the season before having a night off in last night’s 7-0 setback to the Cotuit Ketleers.
“Coming here as a kid, I saw the great players that came through here which set the bar,” Proto said. “I knew it would be cool to play in the league and I'm thrilled I’ve had the chance too.”
Proto’s mentality embodies the tradition of baseball on Cape Cod. He represented the Cape on the national stage as a high school athlete, has stayed in the state for his collegiate baseball career and is now in his second summer as a Cape League player.
He did not root for a specific Cape League team as a kid, rather he went to as many different ballparks as he could. Additionally, he spent significant time around the players on Team Cape Cod before he was old enough to compete.
The combination of witnessing the skill of Cape Leaguers and the up-close hard work and dedication of the Babe Ruth League players bred the passion that Proto has today.
“I think that growing up on Cape and playing baseball when I was younger and having the Cape League, my dad's league and his players to look up to definitely helped me have something to shoot for,” Proto said. “The Cape League especially, those are the best players in the country so it was really cool to be able to watch those players from a young age and learn where the bar was at and what I would have to do to get there.”
Proto and the Braves are back in action tonight at Whitehouse Field against the Harwich Mariners. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.