HUNTERSVILLE Ryder Ryan’s performance on the mound and at the plate led his North Mecklenburg baseball team to a 3-0 win against rival Hough on Tuesday.
Ryan, a 6-foot-2, 195-pound right-hander, struck out 10 batters on his way to throwing a complete-game, two-hit shutout. He also hit a two-run home run to help the Vikings claim their first victory against the third-year Huskies.
“He’s come a long way, not only in the physical part but also the mental part of the game,” said North Meck first-year coach Sean Ryan, Ryder’s father. “He kept his composure tonight.”
The coach gave catcher Zack Ruttkamp credit for calling a good game from behind the plate.
“They worked well together,” Sean Ryan said. “They kept us in the ball game.”
Ryder Ryan, a junior, got off to a sluggish start, throwing four straight balls to walk Hough’s leadoff batter, Drew Ober.
Ryan settled down to force a 6-4-3 double play and a pop-fly to get out of the first unscathed.
The Vikings (4-2, 4-1 I-Meck 4A) were quick to score, as Sam Hinson’s RBI single drove in shortstop Michael Coss in the bottom of the first.
Sean Ryan said getting an early lead against the Huskies (3-6, 2-3) was big mentally for his squad.
“If you get behind early in a game, sometimes you get down on yourself,” he said. “To get that first run out of the way and go up got the momentum going in our favor. We just kept it going.”
After Ryder Ryan struck out five of the six batters he faced over the next two innings, he gave his team a couple of insurance runs with his third-inning home run deep to left field, which also scored right-fielder Stephen Langford.
Ryder Ryan credited his teammates for his success on the mound.
“We battled through the whole game,” he said. “We’re rising to the occasion.”
His dad agreed.
“They played hard every inning,” said Sean Ryan. “That’s what we’ve been teaching … that if we play good fundamental baseball, and we never give up, we have a chance to win.”
He added that he saw resilience from his up-and-coming Vikings, which time after time kept Hough from getting into a rhythm.
“I’m really proud of all these guys,” said Sean Ryan. “We still have a lot to do, but they’re starting to execute and get better every game.”