PG North: Butler graduate has all-star motivation
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Ryan Fennell would like to follow in his brother Jason's footsteps, and take it one step further.
"Jason was drafted by the Chicago White Sox in the 1995 amateur entry draft," Ryan Fennell said. "He played seven years in the minors, but a torn ACL kept him from making it to the majors."
Jason Fennell graduated from Baldwin High School in 1996 and was named the Post-Gazette's High School Baseball Player of the Year. Fennell, an outfielder/first baseman, was drafted in the 45th round (1,257th overall).
"My goal in life is to get drafted and eventually play major league baseball," Ryan Fennell said. "I'll do whatever it takes to reach that goal."
Ryan Fennell graduated from Butler Area High School in June and will continue his baseball career at La Roche College. He is spending the summer playing baseball.
"I played for East Butler's [American] Legion team and for Cranberry in Palomino ball," Fennell said. "I haven't had many days off this summer, but I'm having a lot of fun playing the game that I love."
Fennell played first base and pitched for all three teams.
"We finished second during the regular season, but didn't have two of our top players for the playoffs and lost two straight," said Fennell, referring to East Butler's fate in the Butler County American Legion playoffs. "It was a disappointing finish.
"I had a .700 average and hit seven home runs for East Butler. I also have a .600 average and seven home runs in only nine games in Palomino ball."
He also had a .464 average for the high school team, but didn't have any home runs.
"I caught fire at the plate after the high school season ended," said Fennell, who has been playing baseball since he was 5 years old. "I've been playing the best baseball of my career this summer."
East Butler's season might be over, but Fennell still has one more Legion game to play. He is one of 42 players chosen to play in the East-West All-Star Showcase, which will take place in Harrisburg Saturday and Sunday.
Fennell is one of 21 players on the West team and will be playing first base.
"I attended three workouts [showcases] to qualify," he said. "The first was at Clarion, the second at St. Marys and the third at Pullman Park [in Butler]."
The weekend begins with a skills session Saturday morning with each player showing how well they can run, throw and hit. The players will be judged by major league scouts and college coaches. Saturday evening, the coaches, players and their parents will attend a banquet to recognize the participants.
The festivities conclude Sunday with a game at MetroBank Park, home of the Class AA Harrisburg Senators.
"My friend, Tanner Master, was picked last year [while playing for Meridian in the Butler County League]," Fennell said. "He told me the weekend [in Harrisburg] was awesome. He told me I would have a good time."
Fennell's younger brother, Mickey, also plays baseball.
"There's a lot of baseball in our family," Ryan Fennell said. "Mickey started every game in center field and batted leadoff for the high school team last season as a sophomore. He missed most of the Legion season with a broken collarbone."
First Published July 22, 2010 9:02 am