Softball's Ryan Brings Competitive Fire
Published: Monday, April 9, 2001
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01
It was a beautiful Wednesday afternoon at Shea Field and the Boston College softball team was preparing for the next day’s game at UMass.
Before conducting an interview with The Heights, pitcher Kim Ryan took her turn at mandatory batting practice. With cheers of “Let’s go, Kimmie!” emanating from teammates around the field, Ryan smashed a fastball over the left field fence for a home run. The smiling sophomore then hustled over to the bleachers to talk some Eagles softball.
During her freshman season of 2000, Ryan firmly forged her spot within the Eagles pitching rotation. She was not only appointed as the ace of the staff, but also broke the record for Big East strikeouts in a season by whiffing 106 batters over the course of the conference schedule.
Ryan’s overall total of 197 strikeouts and a miniscule 1.47 earned run average (ERA) translated into First Team All-Big East recognition and a share of the Big East Rookie of the Year Award. Ryan’s several highlights from last season included tossing a no-hitter against Providence College.
Ryan hails from Bay Shore, NY and pitched for four years at Bay Shore High School. Her team earned state championships during her sophomore and junior seasons. During her high school career, Bay Shore was ranked as high as 16th in the nation.
Ryan was named New York State Player of the Year twice. She explains that her next step after high school was very logical because she always wanted to attend Boston College. Her father is a BC graduate and Ryan has always enjoyed the Boston area.
“The mix of sports and academics makes BC great,” says Ryan.
The right-handed Eagle hurler has always loved playing softball. She started pitching at the age of ten. Ryan’s older brother played baseball and her younger 12-year-old sister is currently also a softball pitcher. Summer softball has always been a meaningful component of Ryan’s life. She has played for past summer teams as the Long Island Chargers and the Montclaire Majestics, which is a women’s major league squad.
“It [summer softball] is a lot of fun,” she says. “You get to travel to a lot of nice places every weekend. It keeps you in great shape for the season.”
Ryan is off to a personal 6-3 start in the 2001 campaign featuring a one-hitter against Kent State on February 18. The sophomore truly sparkled in the team’s early March trip to San Diego where she won all three of her starts against Furman, Portland State and the University of San Diego.
The victory over Portland State was a complete game, three-hit performance. On March 24, Ryan struck out 11 batters in a triumph over Radford in Virginia. During this outing, she sat down seven consecutive hitters with strikeouts.
“I am much more experienced this year and not as nervous,” says Ryan.
She believes that her addition of a changeup to her repertoire of pitches this season has increased her stability on the mound. The team also has a new pitching coach, Bob Carr, whom Ryan is very happy to work with.
Despite accomplishing all of this remarkable success over her first year-and-a-half with the Eagles, Ryan did not mention any of this individual information during her interview with The Heights. The only statistic that she spoke of was her team’s overall record, which was 16-14 at the time. Thursday’s loss at UMass brings the team’s record to 16-15 and Ryan is focused on the team finishing the season strong.
“We are all working really hard to win the Big East,” she says. “San Diego was a really good tournament. Everything seemed to come together there. We played tough the whole tournament.”
The sophomore truly admires the dedication, effort and support exemplified by all of her teammates. She greatly respects and appreciates the leadership demonstrated by the team captains, seniors Summer Jarratt and Jenn Perrotta.
“The captains are amazing,” says Ryan. “They are great on and off the field and really hold the team together.”
Ryan describes BC softball as a mixture of hard work and great fun. She says that Head Coach Jen Finley really pushes the team to excel.
“Coach [Finley] works us hard,” she says. “We watch film all the time. They [the coaching staff] work us in a lot of areas. We work on detail a lot.”
But Ryan is not too shy to admit that the team also has some humor incorporated into its practice routine.
“Earlier today we were hitting real fruit: apples and oranges,” she says.
In San Diego, the team drew lines on the beach and played.
“We are a very close knit team and we are all really good friends,” says Ryan.
Ryan is an English major in the College of Arts and Sciences. “I like having the opportunity at BC to learn about a lot of different topics,” she says. “A broad base of knowledge is good.”
With sophomore sensation Ryan on the mound, the present and future of Boston College softball appears to be bright. Her spirited energy and passion for the game appropriately supplement her tremendous talent.
Like many BC students, Ryan has been a little “under the weather” the past couple of weeks. When she hits the mound again with full strength, Eagle opponents should heed this warning: BC’s version of the Ryan Express is coming soon to a campus near you.