Baseball Player of the Year: Andrean’s Zac Ryan
BY LaMond Pope 713-2691 or email@example.com June 15, 2013 11:40PM
Updated: July 17, 2013 7:03AM
MERRILLVILLE — Zac Ryan doesn’t get too caught up in the numbers.
But they sure are impressive.
The right-handed pitcher went 8-1 with a 1.12 ERA for Andrean. He struck out 91 batters in 682/3 innings.
Ryan — the Post-Tribune’s baseball player of the year — is more concerned about the end result.
“As long as we win, I’m OK,” he said. “My mindset has always been to go out and throw a complete game and get our team through the game to get the win.”
Ryan did plenty of winning with the 59ers.
He became the school’s career wins leader (29). He also moved into first place on the school’s career strikeout list (270). He helped lead Andrean to a conference championship and the Class 3A Kankakee Valley Sectional title.
“The one thing that Zac always was about was team first. Even though he was our best player for three of the four years he was at Andrean, those individual records and career records, I don’t think he really cared about them or knew about them,” Andrean coach Dave Pishkur said. “He chased the state championships, the conference championships and those things. That’s what he was all about. When your best player is also a big-time team leader, that’s perfect.”
Ryan has a fastball that is usually clocked between 89-91 miles per hour and has topped out at 93-94 miles per hour. He said his changeup has developed a lot during the past year and that he’s been able to throw it more for strikes. He also has a curveball and cutter.
Herscher (Ill.) found out how tough Ryan can be when he pitched a one-hitter while striking out 17 on April 20. Ten days later, he struck out 16 and gave up one hit again in a victory against Highland. He also homered in the win.
Ryan finished the year with a .349 average and 30 runs scored.
“The biggest thing Zac proved to me every year, he became a bigger competitor. I don’t know if I can give a bigger compliment than that. When it was tight game, whether he was on the mound or at bat, in a tight game, he was at his best,” Pishkur said. “He always seemed to have his best games offensively and on the mound when the game was close. What better way to have your No. 1 guy than being maybe your best competitor on the team as well.”
Ryan said he’s always been competitive, even when it comes to grades in school. He’ll play college baseball at Georgia Tech.
He’ll leave Andrean with experiences he’ll never forget.
“It was awesome. It was a great season to go out, to make our final mark as seniors,” Ryan said. “We were really successful. We had a great record (27-3-1), we just didn’t come through in the last game (a regional semifinal loss to Griffith).
“It was a whole tournament where we had been coming back from games. It was stressful the entire time. That one time we couldn’t pull it off. It was still an awesome season. I’m very happy with it. I’m very happy with the team. It’s been my favorite team, so far. It was a very memorable season.”