HUNTERSVILLE – Ryder Ryan firmly entrenched himself on wish lists for college recruiters and professional scouts this spring. In the process, he became one of North Carolina’s dominant baseball players.
Ryan, a North Mecklenburg High junior, is the Herald Weekly Baseball Player of the Year.
He was a dual threat as a pitcher, catcher and third baseman, helping the Vikings (13-12) remain in contention for the I-MECK 4A conference title. North Mecklenburg finished tied for third with an 11-5 record.
Ryan was dominant on the mound, with a 0.61 earned run averaged and 109 strikeouts in 68 innings. He limited opponents to 25 hits and only walked 16 batters. Ryan pitched five one-hitters and two two-hitters. He had a 5-3 record, with two saves.
He also was dominant at the plate. Ryan batted .589 with a 1.054 slugging percentage. His 16 extra-base hits included five home runs and he led the Vikings with 29 RBIs. Ryan also stole 12 bases.
“Ryder worked hard this year to improve his game and it showed,” said Sean Ryan, North Meckleburg’s coach and Ryder’s father. “He is a fierce competitor and leader. He located his pitches well and Ryder's offspeed pitches were also working. Basically, he became more of a seasoned pitcher. It is going to be fun to see what he can do next year. There is still a lot to learn and experience for him to reach his goals. The great thing is he has a solid understanding of that.”
Ryder Ryan had to deal with other teams often pitching around him.
“In my opinion, that made him a better hitter,” Sean Ryan said. “He did get frustrated during the course of the year due to not seeing many good pitches to hit. But we had some long discussions about this and the most important lesson learned was simply to control what you can and do not try to control what you can’t. … His mental consistency this year was impressive.”