After nearly seven straight months of baseball, Ryan Leach will get his first extended stay back home in Farmingdale next week.

The Hall-Dale High School graduate and Franklin Pierce University junior recently returned from South Carolina where he pitched in relief for the Florence RedWolves of the Coastal Plain League. This week he’s working at a youth baseball camp at Franklin Pierce in Rindge, N.H., and has already started a pitching regimen for the fall season.

Leach’s competitive innings came to an end recently when he reached 100 combined between his collegiate and summer work, under a limit imposed by FPU coach Jayson King.

“It was just a lot of innings on the year,” said Leach, who pitched 75 as a starter at Franklin Pierce and 25 out of the RedWolves bullpen.

Leach added his arm feels fine and he’s already begun getting it in shape for fall ball. His statistics for the RedWolves were impressive. Working in one or two inning stints as a setup man, he finished with 28 strikeouts, a 1.80 earned run average and a .193 batting average against him.

“He’d normally come in when we had the lead,” RedWolves coach Jarod Barkdoll said. “He was a setup guy. He had a good fastball, a good slider. He’s like a sidearm guy. His fastball had a lot of movement on it.”

Leach adjusted to his role as a reliever.

“I try to get more aggressive out of the bullpen,” he said. “Most of the time it’s a close game and I’m there to hold the lead. I learned how to pitch more out of the pen rather than pacing myself.”

He didn’t throw fastball after fastball, though. The league, which includes Kevin Youkilis and Justin Verlander among its alumni, is full of talented Division I players. Although it was a step up in the competition from the opponents Leach faced at Franklin Pierce, that advantage was negated by the wooden bats required by the league.

“I was mixing in a circle change and a slider,” Leach said. “Those guys down there can hit a fastball.”

Barkdoll doesn’t see a big difference between Div. I and Div. II players in the league. A lot of their success, he said, depends on attitude and hard work and Leach earned high marks in both areas.

“He’s a good kid,” he said. “He worked hard, he pitched well. We would definitely have him back.”

In an ideal world Leach would gain an invitation next summer to the prestigious Cape Cod League although right now he sees it as a longshot. A lot will rest on the sort of season he has next spring at Franklin Pierce. The Ravens graduated just one pitcher and have some talented arms coming in, so a starting spot in the rotation will have to be earned.

After a fast start last spring, Leach tailed off a little but still finished with a 6-4 record and an ERA of 3.69. Among the highlights he had for the Ravens was a nine-inning no-hitter against Adelphi University in which he struck out 12.

Leach has one more game to play this summer. He accepted an invitation from Boston Herald sports writer Steve Buckley to play in the Old Time Baseball Game on Aug. 13 in Cambridge, Mass. The game includes New England Collegians, former players and celebrities who don vintage uniforms and play for charity. This year proceeds go to the Red Cross of Eastern Massachusetts. Leach said they’d like him to pitch an inning but his coach would rather he didn’t.

“I may get to pinch hit,” said Leach, who hasn’t swung a bat since his American Legion days. “It may be the last time.”

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.