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Minor-leaguer begins life away from home

Former Central star Patrick Ryan is happy he was drafted by the Brewers, but playing in Montana and shortly after his last college game will be a big adjustment.

By THOMAS SIMONETTI
Published June 17, 2005


Patrick Ryan's life changed dramatically last week when the former Central player received a phone call asking him if he'd like to continue his career.

Ryan, a right-handed pitcher, played at Lake Sumter Community College before two solid years with Embry-Riddle. After his senior season, the 22-year-old had no doubt he would be heading to the pros.

What hadn't sunk in was that less than a month after Embry-Riddle's schedule ended, Ryan immediately would be starting another season and likely not close to home.

Ryan was selected in the 19th round (565th overall) of the Major League Baseball draft by the Milwaukee Brewers and soon found himself in Montana with the minor-league Helena Brewers.

"It didn't sink in for the first day or so," Ryan said. "Then I thought, "Man, I'm leaving to go start another season.' "

Now he wakes up in a state he never has been in, approaches 40-degree weather and looks around and sees snow-capped mountains on the horizon. "It's a lot different from being in Florida," Ryan said.

Ryan made it this far thanks to a stellar career at Embry-Riddle.

He finished with a 19-5 combined record and was a two-time NAIA All-American.

As a senior, he was 13-3 and compiled a 1.60 ERA. "Every time he walked out there on the mound, it seemed like he dominated," Embry-Riddle coach Greg Guilliams said. "Opponents only batted .209 against him. That's pretty impressive."

Some players get drafted often before going pro, but this was the first time Ryan was picked. After his junior season, he talked with the Florida Marlins but couldn't agree on a signing bonus.

Ryan, whose family lives in Brooksville, said he is about a semester away from a degree. He's determined to complete his academic career at Embry-Riddle.

School, though, is not on his mind now. "You just try to fit in the organization and improve," Ryan said of his Helena team, the Brewers' Pioneer League affiliate for rookies.

"You work hard and do the right thing," he said, "and you're going to get the result you want."

[Last modified June 17, 2005, 00:34:18]


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