Trib HSSN baseball player of the week for June 18, 2024

Tuesday, June 18, 2024 | 10:26 PM

Trib HSSN baseball player of the week: Ben Ryan

School: Indiana

Class: Senior

Position: Pitcher, third base

#Earned: Even though Indiana came up just short of winning a state baseball championship, senior Ben Ryan did what he could last week with his arm and bat. In the PIAA semifinals, Ryan, who had been the Little Indians’ closer all season, was asked to once again start in a state playoff game and he delivered, pitching a complete game while allowing one earned run on four hits while striking out nine. He also drove home three runs as Indiana defeated Fleetwood, 10-3. Then in the PIAA Class 4A championship game, Ryan smacked two solo home runs, then was walked twice as the Little Indians lost a lead, then lost the game to Holy Ghost Prep, 6-5.

What coach says: “Ben is the most driven human being I have ever been around,” Indiana coach Dan Petroff said. “When the lights come on, he is always ready to go and performs at a high level. In both of his starts (in the PIAA playoffs) he was in command of his fastball and getting ahead of hitters. In those starts, he threw 12 1/3 innings, giving up only three hits, one walk and 16 strikeouts. With him being a power arm, getting up to 95 if you throw strikes, high school players are not going to consistently square balls up on you.

“As a hitter, he has eye-popping exit velocity, probably one of the highest in the country. Once he gets on a roll, he is almost impossible to get out. In the playoffs, he really wanted to take the team on his shoulders and be a leader and he proved he could. Ben has been a power hitter since the day he was born. WPIAL pitchers can sleep better at night knowing Ben Ryan has graduated for sure.

“When we get back from games, after team lifting, or even after two-hour practices, Ben goes and hits another hour or two almost every night. His hard work and dedication rub off on everyone as kids would follow that lead as well. If you didn’t see Ben at the hitting facility, good chance he is in the weight room. Every player on the Indiana High School baseball team loves and respects Ben as high as you can.

“Ben’s legacy will be one of the best Indiana baseball players in our history. He has been a four-year starter and major contributor every year. Sometimes in games, you need a jump starter to get the team going, and Ben’s massive bombs got things going many of times. Ben and the senior class had a major impact on putting Indiana baseball on the map. You can’t replace what they have done, but the cupboard isn’t bare here and guys will step up, not to replace those guys, but to start their own legacy going forward.”

Background: Ryan will continue his academic and baseball career starting in the fall at Quinnipiac in Connecticut. Ryan also played football and basketball when he was younger, but gave them up to focus on baseball as he hit middle school age. Ben’s uncle is Mike Ryan, who managed the Altoona Curve in the Pittsburgh Pirates’ organization between 2017-19 after reaching the major leagues in his playing career with the Minnesota Twins. One of Ryan’s baseball heroes is former Pittsburgh Pirates top draft pick and current Los Angeles Angels outfielder Cole Tucker. He got to know Tucker when he played for Ryan’s uncle in Altoona. For the season, Ryan batted .431 with eight home runs and 28 RBIs. On the mound, he was 3-1 with a 0.55 ERA with 41 strikeouts in 25 2/3 innings pitched.

2024 Trib HSSN Baseball Players of the Week

Week 10 – Carson Franc, Avonworth

Week 9 – David Posey, North Allegheny

Week 8 – David Shields, Mt. Lebanon

Week 7 – Dylan Smith, Blackhawk

Week 6 – Brock Cornell, West Allegheny

Week 5 – A.J. Verdi, Mohawk

Week 4 – Jake Robinson, Montour

Week 3 – Gio LoNero, Seton LaSalle

Week 2 – Tommy Schafale, North Catholic

Week 1 – Ryan Petras, Bethel Park


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