Feierabend Making Big Strides at Inland

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. - Ryan Feierabend did not let a slow start to the year derail success and the winning mindset that has been instilled in him since he was a child.

Feierabend, a third round draft pick of the Mariners in 2003, had to make the decision of either going professional or going to pitch in college after he was selected Lorain County Player of the Year twice in his native Ohio while attending Midview High School in Grafton.

"I had quite a few offers from different colleges for baseball," said the tall left-hander. "I decided to sign with Kent State University in Ohio. I also signed a letter of intent to sign with a junior college in Florida called Chipola."

The recently engaged Feierabend has been having his future bride Sarah, a former college softball player and graduate of Ashland University in Ohio, supporting his career in the California League.

"She lives back home in Ohio but is out here for a time before she goes back to start her job," said Feierabend. "She played college softball and travel ball so she knows what it is like traveling around. She is really supportive."

Feierabend, a first year player in the competitive California League, is 5-6 with a 3.82 ERA to go along with 93 strikeouts in 22 starts this season. Impressively, he has improved as the season has progressed and found success in a league that is usually not kind to pitchers.

"My arm feels great. I am ready to go pitch some more," said Feierabend.

The big lefty from Grafton, Ohio, found plenty of success last year as a 19-year-old with the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers in the Midwest League. There, he struck out 106 batters, was named to the league's All-Star team and given Co-MVP team honors for the Rattlers as selected by the Seattle Mariners

The California League has showed him new hitters but Feierabend put an interesting spin on the league.

"My hardest out, earlier in the year, was a bunch of different people," said Feierabend of his early struggles. "But now, I don't feel there is anyone in the league that I can't get out with any one of my pitches. It is not so much a cockiness but I feel really confident on the mound right now pitching-wise."

Feierabend did not win his first game until May 20th, but his slow start didn't change his approach on the mound.

"I pretty much go through a normal routine that every pitcher goes through," said Feierabend (pictured left at Spring Training by photographer Max Waugh). "Two days after you pitch, you do your lifting and running. You do bullpen work. But I really try not to think about it and try to relax. Then when game time comes, I go over their hitters and get situated for that team that night."

Off the field, he likes to escape it all, putting his family at the center of his non-baseball life.

"I do a little bit of fishing in the off season with my dad," he said. "I hang out with my Mom and Dad as much as I can just because I don't see them during the season."

Feierabend, a natural athlete, started playing baseball at the age of four, skipping T-ball altogether.

"My grandfather, Robert Feierabend, was one of the head umpires in the state of Ohio. He got me into the league, where I played Little League Baseball. When I was six years old, I hit my first home run."

He has a clear understanding off all the work ahead of him but it does not distract him from his goal of pitching in Safeco Field for the Mariners.

"I told myself that I would like to be at the Major League Baseball level at 22," said Feierabend, "so that would have given me four years in the minors. Just getting better every year, moving up a level every year would be just fine with me."

The young pitcher from Ohio has shown the poise and wisdom that comes from hard work. Feierabend has shown improvement with each passing month this season – missing more bats and getting more outs that early in the season– and has all the signs of a player on the rise. Slowly, everyone is starting to take notice, especially the guys in the California League with bats in their hands.

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