Star pitcher grabs attention of pro scouts

Ryan O'Toole, Sports editor

It’s a warm mid-April day. Wind whips the American flag in sharp cracks. An unassuming blond on the pitcher’s mound winds up and releases, a split second later, a leather snap. A scout’s radar gun lights up. 93 MPH.  

Scouts from multiple major league teams are looking at senior pitcher Ryne Stanek as a possible draft choice. Ryne is listed at a 9.5 out of 10 by perfectgame.org.

“The pro ball thing is cool but it gets really busy and annoying when there are always people at the games,” Ryne said. “I don’t mind it that much. I like the pressure of going out there with so many people watching and it’s always been my goal to play in the major league.”

Ryne’s mom, Lisa Stanek, is not concerned about the pressure.

“I think he feeds off it,” she said. “He’s always wanted to play the best competition and have the ball in a tough situation. So I don’t think the scouts have affected him in anything but a positive way. That’s where he’s most comfortable. On the mound.”

Ryne sparked the interest of pro scouts in the first game of the season.

“He was throwing hard, around 95 or 96 the first game and that would get anyone’s attention,” coach Matt Ortman said. “He’s continued to put up big numbers on the radar gun so the scouts keep coming back.”

Teammates notice the spark as well.

“He prepares very well,” senior pitcher Corey Chesley said. “He does what he’s doing out there and his success is well deserved.”

Ortman said Stanek’s work ethic is what really contributed to the position he’s in now.

“I think the biggest thing he did during the offseason was get in the weight room,” he said. “He added some weight and a lot of strength and that added to his velocity.” 

Ryne signed to the University of Arkansas earlier this year, but could back out if a strong enough offer comes along.

“My plans for college are the same,” he said. “I plan to go to Arkansas; unless in the draft I get taken high enough to where the money would be enough to where I couldn’t pass it up and go to school.”

Chesley thinks that Ryne has a chance at the professional level. 

“His stuff is definitely top-notch,” he said. “He works really hard and he’s got some pretty solid God-given talent.” 

Ryne says the scouting process can be tedious. 

“Every team sends these questionnaires that you have to fill out and they are a few pages long,” Ryne said. “They give you personality tests and paperwork like that.” 

Despite his future potential, Ryne is focusing on his senior season.

“I don’t want it to be a distraction for the team,” he said. “Because we all have one goal, to win state. I don’t want this to come in the way of that.”

No matter what happens in the coming season, Ryne will play at a higher level.

“I have the best of both worlds,” he said. “I can get drafted and play pro ball or go to school on a scholarship, so it’s really not bad either way.” 

The excitement is a family affair.

“It’s really exciting,” Lisa said. “His dad was a good ball player. I watched him for years and for Ryne to have that opportunity to get drafted would be a dream come true.”