SURPRISE, Az.-- Former Lake Erie College baseball player Ryan Rua was named the starting left fielder for the Texas Rangers when they open their season on April 6 against the Oakland Athletics.
"As a head coach you would like to believe that you had something to do with your player reaching his ultimate goal, but I can tell you from firsthand experience that is not the most important ingredient," said Storm Head Coach Brian McGee. "I believe our program provides players with a great platform to develop as a person and a player but it takes a special individual to be able to accomplish this particular feat."
Rua played in 28 games last season for the Rangers, hitting .295 with seven doubles, two homeruns and 14 RBI. This preseason, Rua is hitting .300 with five doubles, two triples, two homeruns and 11 RBI.
"Ryan is the most gifted athlete I had ever worked with. He remained coachable, had extraordinary mental toughness, is a fierce competitor who hated to fail, put the extra work in necessary and most importantly is someone who believed in himself," continued McGee. "Anyone and everyone who has ever had a hand in his development as a person and player is a part of this."
Rua played for the Storm from 2009-11. He batted .400 twice (2010-11) and posted double-digit home run totals twice (2009-11), including in his freshman season. After batting .374 (176-of-470), with 39 doubles, five triples, 27 home runs and 131 RBIs in 139 games, he was selected by the Texas Rangers in the 17th round of the 2011 MLB June Amateur Draft.
"From his coaches, to teachers, to friends and teammates, everyone can share in his success," said McGee. "Two people who deserve the most credit here are his parents for showing him the unconditional love, support, and belief in chasing your dreams."
Rua made his major league debut with the Rangers last season on August 29th against the Houston Astros. In his first game, Rua went one-of-five from the plate, getting his first career hit in the seventh inning.
Prior to being called up, Rua was having a successful stint in the minor leagues. Rua played for the Rangers' Triple-A affiliate, the Round Rock Express. He batted .312 with eight homeruns while driving in 36 runs in 71 games. Before joining the Round Rock Express, Rua started the season with the Rangers' Double-A affiliate, the Frisco Roughriders. Rua was voted into the Texas League All-Star game, where he won Homerun Derby as part of the All-Star Game Festivities.
"I will tell you that I have coached many talented players in my 15 years of coaching who I am all proud of, but Ryan was the one to be brave enough to really challenge his inner self to get there. I have never been so proud of a player," concluded McGee.