Oak Hill senior Gavin Rawstron throws a pitch against Mt. Abram in Wales earlier this season. Tony Blasi/Sun Journal

As far as standing and delivering on the pitcher’s mound goes, Gavin Rawstron stood tall and delivered heat from the outset of the 2021 season.

In his second game of the spring, the Oak Hill senior threw a no-hitter against rival Lisbon. Other shutouts followed, and he finished the season with a 0.89 ERA.

Rawstron’s batting took time to come around, but he eventually was moved to the leadoff spot and finished with a .450 on-base percentage. And when he did reach first base, he was “pretty much an automatic stolen base,” according to Raiders coach Chad Stowell. Rawstron finished with 16 steals this season.

Oak Hill’s Gavin Rawstron dives back to first base ahead of a pickoff throw to Lisbon first baseman Ethan Brown during a Class C South semifinal in Wales earlier this season. Wil Kramlich/Sun Journal file photo

If Rawstron showed any effects from not having a junior baseball season due to the coronavirus pandemic, Stowell didn’t see them. What he did see was an athlete who plays baseball virtually year-round, and who has worked on his strength and conditioning since his sophomore year, when he started showing flashes of this potential.

The other coaches in the Mountain Valley Conference saw enough from Rawstron to name him the conference’s player of the year, and he was also named a finalist for the Winkin Award, given to the top senior player in the state.

The Raiders’ No. 1 pitcher and No. 1 hitter is also the Sun Journal’s top choice for All-Region Baseball Player of the Year.

“I feel like it’s a well-deserved honor,” Stowell said. “Gavin really started preparing for this year probably pretty much about the time that we found out that we weren’t going to have a season last year. … Obviously he’s talented, which you need to have talent to couple with the hard work to get the results that he had, but the results that he had this year were pretty spectacular.”

Rawstron said this was his best year as a pitcher, and he credited both his travel baseball coaches and the Oak Hill coaching staff for helping him hone that craft. In 48 innings this spring, Rawstron struck out 85 batters and walked only 10.

“You know, really took the ball every fourth day, pitched pretty much a complete game every single time,” Stowell said. “I think he only didn’t finish one game the entire season. Just that typical workhorse, No. 1 starter.”

The no-hitter against Lisbon came while Rawstron’s bat was still waiting to wake up. Stowell said the early-season scuffling — “He had a lot of loud outs, hit the ball hard but at people,” the coach said — probably put some pressure on Rawstron, who was one of just two seniors on the team, along with Sam Lindsay. Then, after the switch to the leadoff spot, Rawstron’s hitting took off.

“The last week of the season and our three playoff games, he was really squaring the ball up hard, getting on base a lot,” Stowell said.

Rawstron admitted he felt some pressure to be a leader, something that he hadn’t experienced in his Oak Hill baseball career but wasn’t completely new for him.

“I wouldn’t say it was too much because I’ve been the quarterback for the high school team and there was a lot of pressure in that,” Rawstron said. “And I think this year, being the two seniors, me and Sam Lindsay stepped into that role. We had a lot of kids look up to us. I think that helped us carry a lot of momentum and respect from the team, and I think that’s helped us get a lot of the wins that we had.”

Stowell said Rawstron was the more vocal of the two seniors, but it wasn’t bombastic-type talking.

“It was more of just kind of a reminder to the kids what needs to be done,” Stowell said. “When you have a guy like that telling you what needs to be done and then he goes out, he does it every single day, the kids buy in and they definitely bought into his leadership this year.”

That leadership also showed after practice, when Rawstron would take ownership of raking the pitcher’s mound and making sure all the equipment was put away.

“We had a lot of young kids,” Rawstron said. “I think after a few games, I think when we all bought in together as a program, we all knew what our main goal was and that we were good enough to do it.”

Rawstron put the team on his back from the mound during the no-hitter against Lisbon. They, in turn, helped pick him up in his final high school pitching appearance, a Class C South quarterfinal victory over Dirigo.

“It was probably one of my worst (outings) as a pitcher. I didn’t throw that bad, it was just not as good as my other outings,” Rawstron said. “I think as a team to pick me up from the back, we had a lot of timely hits late in the innings to get some runs and come back from a (big) deficit to come back to win that playoff game. And as a team, that was one of our biggest moments where we all trust each other, from the top of the order to the bottom of the order, to get hits, get on base and get stuff going for our team.”

The Raiders were the No. 1 seed in the Class C South bracket this season, but got bounced in their following game, against Lisbon of all teams, but Rawstron was still proud to be part of the progression of the program and helping Oak Hill get back on the right track.

His personal career track will now take him to University of Southern Maine, where he’s excited to play for longtime coach Ed Flaherty and “put work in and continue to get better and play for those guys.”

Related Headlines


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: