Freshman catcher spends free time focusing on passion for music, musical instruments

For Ethan Bennett, freshman catcher for the UT baseball team, records carry a significant meaning.

On the diamond, Bennett has been known for breaking records. As a high school senior at nearby Farragut, he broke the single-season state record for home runs with 27. On top of that, he set a national record for consecutive games with a home run, going yard in ten straight games, a feat that earned him a mention in "Sports Illustrated."

But when Bennett is not carving his name on the top of baseball records, he can be found listening to records, as music stands as one of his greatest pastimes.

"(After practice) my favorite thing to do is go back to my room and just listen to music," Bennett said.

Bennett, who lists his favorite bands as the Avett Brothers and NeedToBreathe, not only spends his time listening to music, but also playing it. As a musician, he can play the guitar — both acoustic and electric — the banjo, the mandolin, the bass and the piano. But for Bennett, his passion for playing was not known until his older brother received a guitar.

"I think we were 7, and my big brother, you know I always looked up to him, and he got a guitar, so I wanted one too," Bennett said. "From there, we just picked up a love of music, and it's just been growing ever since."

Bennett said when he is in one of his jam sessions, he loves to play almost anything, but lately, since he has been learning the banjo, his focus has shifted more to bluegrass music.

"I used to play a lot more rock when I played electric guitar," Bennett said. "But now it's much more acoustic stuff, a lot of bluegrass."

Despite his love for music, Bennett is careful not to let his devotion to music infringe on his performance in baseball.

"I've only seen him with his guitar once or twice," senior teammate Matt Duffy said. "He probably doesn't bring it to the field because he doesn't want to distract himself from baseball. But we've talked about it a couple times, and it's clear that music and baseball are definitely his two passions."

Bennett has a constant drive to get better, something he attributes to his father, the person he said he most looks up to.

"He's just a hard-working guy," Bennett said. "He grew up not in the most well-off family, and he's worked his way up through Blaine Construction. And he's actually the president now, so it paid off."

This hard-working mentality and maturity is not lost on his teammates.

"He's an extremely mature player," Duffy said. "He's worked a lot with the staff to get better. He's a team guy who puts the team first, and he never brags about any of his unbelievable accomplishments."

Going forward, Bennett's ultimate goal is to be an MLB player. He tries to model himself after his favorite athlete: Minnesota Twins All-Star catcher Joe Mauer.

"That's the dream, to play MLB ball," Bennett said. "And I'm just hoping that the saying, 'every dog has its day,' is true."

While the dream of professional sports seems farfetched for many, Bennett's record-breaking swing and leadership mentality have those around him believing in his chances.

"(Ten years from now) hopefully, you'll be seeing him in the big leagues," Duffy said. "He's a hard worker, and until someone tells him he can't play anymore, it's my guess that he's going to continue to play. But other than that, he'll be successful in whatever he does; he's got a great head on his shoulders."