Last night marked Opening Night at The Diamond, Home of the Richmond Flying Squirrels, Double-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants. In attendance for the festivities was none other than your favorite Redskins LB Ryan Kerrigan, who was invited to throw out the first pitch.
For Ryan, the outing was redemption of sorts from his high school days as Muncie Central High School’s all-conference outfielder. It was Ryan’s first return to the mound since he pitched less than an inning in relief against Richmond High School (Richmond, In.) ending his short career on the mound with an 84.00 ERA.
There was no way that he was going to turn down an opportunity to relive his glory days on the diamond at The Diamond and throw out the opening pitch.
However, the evening became even more special and memorable when Ryan decided to select a youngster from the stands to come help him warm up for his milestone return. The chosen one: Josh, a freshman at Cumberland High School and catcher for Cumberland’s JV Team.
How was his return you may ask? Well after a brief warmup and stretch of the arm with Josh, he was ready.
As far as Ryan’s baseball skills are concerned, he confidently claimed that he was throwing heat comparable to that of pitcher Rick “Wild Thing” Vaughn from the movie Major League.
“I threw it pretty hard yeah, didn’t full out gas it but a solid velocity, just off the inside corner, knee high. I was pleased with it. I’d have to compare myself to a young wild thing Rick Vaughn because you never know where the ball’s going to go,” said Kerrigan.
Since we weren’t there to witness Ryan throwing this so called “gas”, we’ll have to take his word for it and credit Josh for helping him warm up his arm. Way to go, Josh, and what an awesome experience!
After the game Duane Partusch, Josh’s Cumberland High School Baseball Coach, chimed in on the experience:
“I can assure you that it was an experience of a lifetime for Josh and he was extremely excited about it. He and many others on the team are big Redskins fans so it’s always really cool for me to see one of my kids get to do something exciting like that.”
Now if you remember, Ryan was once just a kid playing high school baseball in the great state of Indiana. Back in training camp during Ryan’s Inside the Park Feature, a daily blog where Ryan chronicled the hot summer days in pads at Redskins Park, he blogged about his time spent on the diamond.
Ryan was an avid baseball player growing up and played all throughout high school. If it weren’t for the copious amounts of football scholarships thrown his way which helped sway him towards the gridiron, the star-powered outfielder said he had pondered the idea of playing collegiate baseball.
His love for the game was clearly evident when he met baseball legend Hank Aaron last July and was smiling from ear to ear like a kid on Christmas morning. He loves the game. It’s as simple as that.
Following his dominating first pitch performance last night, he was introduced to former Atlanta Braves catcher Javier López, who was also in attendance to witness Ryan’s toss.
All in all, we can say that it was a pretty cool spring evening spent down in Richmond for Ryan and Josh and definitely a ceremonious evening at that. And don’t worry Redskins fans, Ryan will assure you that his loyalty remains with the Nationals.
Nonetheless, Richmond held the lead 4-3 before the game was suspended in the fourth inning due to rain.
Who knows? Maybe Ryan and a few of the guys will be attending some games this summer since The Diamond is located just a few miles from the site of the new Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center and Home of 2013 Redskins Training Camp!
Tags: first pitch, richmond flying squirrels, richmond squirrels, ryan kerrigan, the diamond
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