Bostian signs with Montreat
By Mike London
Someone finally realized Ryan Bostian was Rowan County’s best-kept baseball secret.
The South graduate has signed with Montreat, an NAIA school in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and he may prove to be a real steal for the Cavaliers.
South Legion coach David Wright believes any college recruiter who saw Bostian’s game-saving catch in center field against Mocksville this summer, would have offered him a scholarship on the spot.
“Two on and one out,” said Wright, in his best play-by-play voice. “And Ryan goes into left-center, lays out and makes a play that not a great many high school kids could ever make.”
Bostian has made running catches, diving catches and leaping catches all spring and summer. Many led to dazzling double plays after he rifled an accurate throw to a base.
Bostian’s across-the-board tools are near the top among the county’s graduating seniors. He isn’t as muscular or powerful, but in some respects he’s similar to East Rowan center fielder Micah Jarrett, who signed with Wake Forest.
Like Jarrett, Bostian can really run and throw, and he can hit the best pitchers. Mooresville Legion lefty Nick Lomascolo, a Division I prospect, overmatched most of South’s lineup last week, but Bostian blistered two doubles to the alleys.
Bostian was one of the county’s top 10 players as a senior, batting .360 with eight doubles and 17 steals. He was 5-4 on the mound with an ironman stretch that included seven straight complete games.
Former South Rowan High coach Linn Williams made phone calls in the spring, but most colleges were finished recruiting as far as the Class of 2009. Budgets were exhausted unless someone had a pitcher throwing 90.
Getting someone to take the time to check out Bostian ó or teammates Caleb Shore, Michael Morgan, Matt Ingold and Jordan Lowderó was tougher than it used to be.
A.L. Brown coach Empsy Thompson, who has watched Bostian steal everything but the resin bag when the Wonders played South the last two years, was absolutely astonished no one had signed Bostian.
“More schools are finishing their recruiting when kids are still juniors,” analyzed Thad Chrismon, a UNC All-American who was recently elevated from South Rowan High pitching coach to head coach. “A guy like Ryan that blossoms a little later can get left out. Maybe he wasn’t quite there as a prospect as a junior, but he definitely was there as a senior.”
Besides his physical tools, Bostian is a fine student. He’s a North Carolina Scholar, took AP classes and wants to become a construction engineer.
He’s also one of those guys that will return your wallet ó with all its contents ó if he finds it lying on the street.
Montreat coach Travis Little heard nothing but raves about Bostian from coaches and made his first offer before the end of the high school season.
It was the only offer Bostian had at that point, but his mind wasn’t made up. He badly wanted to play college baseball, but he wasn’t sure if Montreat offered the courses he’d need to become an engineer.
Montreat coaches came to watch Bostian play a Legion game at Stanly and got a nice surprise. Bostian wasn’t in center field ó he was pitching.
Seven quick innings and one earned run later, Montreat’s offer increased a bit.
“Montreat was the school that talked to me the longest,” Bostian said. “Then when they came down and saw me pitch against Stanly, they were able to work things out with my parents (Rusty and Yvonne). I can go there and get a business degree and play baseball, and then I can still go on to grad school in engineering.”
Bostian made a splash on South’s jayvees as a freshman. His first high school homer was a grand slam.
He made the varsity as a sophomore, played second base, shortstop and third base and drove in three runs in a dramatic 7-6, eight-inning win over CPC rival Mount Tabor.
His junior year, he was a guinea pig in a desperate experiment.
South had lost 100 percent of its pitching staff to graduation or Carson, and Chrismon entered his laboratory with the idea of constructing hurlers out of the team’s best arms.
“I said, ‘This middle infielder, this one, this one and this one, you guys come with me,’ ” Chrismon remembers. “Ryan was one of those infielders. He never questioned it, just worked his tail off and developed into a pitcher.”
As a second baseman, shortstop and pitcher, Bostian made his first all-county team as a junior. His first varsity win was a two-hitter against West Davidson, and he smacked his first varsity homer in the same game.
As a senior, with a healthy Ingold handling shortstop, Bostian made the transition to the outfield, rotating between left and right when he wasn’t on the mound.
He made three starts in which he didn’t allow an earned run, including a four-hit shutout against Chester, S.C., that helped South win its first Easter tournament title in a dozen years.
“I’d never taken pitching seriously, but once Coach Chrismon taught me some mechanics, I guess I was able to do OK,” Bostian said.
During his high school career, Bostian spent time at six positions and he’s now excelling at a seventh. He’s Wright’s regular center fielder on this summer’s South Legion team.
“Ryan’s versatility and ability to fill a lot of positions has really impressed us,” Little said. “He’s from a strong high school program and a strong Legion program. He’s had great coaching, he knows how to be coached, and he knows how to play. He’ll get bigger and stronger and there should a bright future ahead of him in college ball.”
Little coaches in a picturesque part of the world, not far from Asheville, and he’s been able to attract talented players to play for Montreat.
Montreat competes in the Appalachian Athletic Conference with schools such as King, Milligan, Tennessee Wesleyan, Bluefield and Virginia-Wise and has won often in recent years. The Cavaliers were 37-18 this season.
Like most teenagers, Bostian likes Big Macs, the Braves and Jessica Alba, but his tools set him apart from the the average high school graduate.
“Montreat is high on him, they made him a great offer, and he’s a big pickup for them,” Wright said. “Ryan is a quality ballplayer and a quality kid.”
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