The Boyceville baseball team is currently 16-2 on the year behind the pitching of 2011 All-State Academic selection and First-Team All Conference selection Ryan Bloom but as Jenn Chapman finds out in our Gordy's Athlete of the Week segment, his success is in part to the bond shared between his fellow senior class.
Coach Tim Engel: “Everything he does on and off the field is all about having fun playing this game. He’s usually the first one here and the last one to leave, and it’s not just the glory stuff. He’s raking the mound and helping clean up the field.”
Boyceville pitcher Ryan Bloom has recorded over 500 career strikeouts and holds a 38-6 record. So when the senior steps on the mound, his teammates know what to expect.
Ben Marusak/Boyceville Infielder: “He’s gonna keep us in the game and basically have to put the bat on the ball and field the groundballs.”
Kyle Franseen/Boyceville Infielder: “We get 1 or 2 runs a game and I’m confident that we’re gonna win the game. We get up and he just shuts it down, he’s a great player.”
Luke Hellmann/Boyceville Catcher: “He keeps me busy back there, blocking balls constantly. He’s always hitting his spots and it’s really fun back there.”
Shawn Goodell/Boyceville Outfielder: “But you know for outfielders like me, it’s been pretty boring standing out there for 7 innings with nothing much happening.”
The mutual trust between the 6 seniors was built years ago and has fueled a Boyceville program that has recorded over 60 wins during their 4 years in high school.
Joshua Andrews/Boyceville Infielder: “We’ve all grown up together and we know our strengths and weaknesses and ever since 3rd grade Ryan’s been coming here and we’ve been pretty successful as a team.”
Ryan Bloom/Boyceville Pitcher: “It’s the best, it’s nice knowing that you have the same group of guys during your whole life to share everything. All the ups and downs throughout the whole years of going through high school with those guys is special.”
And even with the hype Ryan generates, it is a team first mentality that has even captured the youth in the community.
Coach Tim Engel: “And nobody’s worried about who gets the headlines on the press or Ryan’s 500 strikeouts because they know if it wasn’t for the play they made, or the plays that they made during that game, 500 strikeouts don't mean anything if we don't win."
Ryan will play for Winona State next year, but he isn’t looking ahead quite yet.
“I’m really focused on what’s at hand right now, and I really want to keep winning here so I can be with my guys for one last time.”
For Athlete of the Week, Jenn Chapman, SportScene13