Relatively new to SportsUnlimited.com, I (Isaac) have been striving to provide content on the blog and e-commerce site that is engaging and positive for the sports community in general. While it does help for SportsUnlimited.com to sell products, the idea is to not just provide the newest, coolest, and best products to the customer, but to provide the right product that will make that customer the happiest. This has led me to develop a side project that allows me to have a bit of fun and not sell, sell, sell with something I’m calling “The Unlimited Potential Project”.
The Unlimited Potential Project is going to shine a spotlight on some of our Sports Unlimited athletes around the world to acknowledge their sporting achievements because family involvement, community involvement, and playing sports we love are such important parts of life.
I am very happy to announce that for the first ever Unlimited Potential Project post, I will be highlighting a remarkable 10-year-old boy from Carrollton, Texas…
League: North Texas Little League
Favorite Team: Texas Rangers
Favorite Player: Nolan Ryan
Favorite Active Player: Mike Napoli
Hits: Switch (L/R)
Ryan plays ball for Brooklyn in the North Texas Little League and has had quite the year. Primarily a catcher, Ryan has also put in some time as a pitcher and third baseman, but his favorite part of baseball is, in no great surprise, hitting! Using his skills as a switch hitter, which he has honed since he was just five years old, Ryan leads the team in RBIs. Through natural athleticism, great focus and instruction from his hitting coach, JT Blair, Ryan has had many keys hits this year to help his team to a 12-1 record, which has Brooklyn tied for 1st place in the league.
One example of his prowess as a hitter occurred early in the season with a lot on the line. In a game against arch rival Yankees (12-1), Ryan was up to bat with 2 outs and the game tied. Providing Brooklyn with some clutch hitting that the team has become accustomed to seeing from Ryan, he drove the ball to the opposite field and went on to win the game by a score of 6-5. Being able to achieve consistent success for the team in critical situations signifies the drive and the ability of an extraordinary player even at such a young age.
Hitting can often times affect the result, but defensively, the skill of the catcher affects the game every single inning. The catcher must work with the pitcher, block pitches, block the plate, throw out runners attempting to steal, and keep the defense in control of the inning. Ryan’s poise behind the plate has come to him not only because he has the innate ability of a catcher, but because he practices hard and trusts his protective gear. His father, Joe Marquez, and some of the other coaches have worked with him over the past year on getting quickly to his knees and taking short hops and bad pitches off his chest protector. When we see major leaguers, not so much Mike Napoli anymore, but perhaps someone like Yadier Molina, blocking a bad pitch in the dirt, we take for granted how difficult it is to willfully put our bodies in the way of a pitch to prevent runs. Ryan, through his desire to help the team in any way he can, does just that, in what he calls, his “Samurai Warrior Gear“.
With remarkable intuition and secretive hand signals with his first baseman, Isaiah Escalona, Ryan uses ‘snap throws’ to pick off unsuspecting runners who have strayed off base. If you fall asleep on first, Ryan and Isaiah will get you out before you even realize it happened.
With clutch hitting, smart defense, and all-around athleticism, Ryan is a Little League All-Star in his league and an Athlete of Unlimited Potential for SportsUnlimited.com. We are proud to highlight Ryan’s year and wish him and Brooklyn the best of luck in the playoffs.
I’d like to extend special thanks to Ryan’s very gracious father, Joe Marquez, for his willingness to participate in the project.
Do you think you or your son/daughter is an Athlete of Unlimited Potential?
||By Isaac ClarkIsaac is a writer at Sports Unlimited.|