A.O.W. Extra: Bishop Ludden’s Ryan O’Kane
By L.T. Liquori
When the Athlete of the Week feature on Ryan O’Kane aired last Wednesday the Bishop Ludden ace, with an 88 mph fastball and a fantastic breaking ball, had never lost a high school start in four years on varsity. Not an easy feat.
Two days after the A.O.W. airing, that fact is no longer true. Friday night at Alliance Bank Stadium O’Kane lost his first game at the hands of ninth state-ranked and league rival CBA.
It could be complete coincidence (which I am sure it is), but my mind can’t help but think, could this be the start an urban legend like the Sports Illustrated cover jinx? One glaring truth convinced me that is not the case.
Ryan has not been himself this spring season on or off the mound. For three weeks in April, O’Kane battled a bad virus which caused him to lose 20 pounds.
After the hiatus, O’Kane returned for a win over Cortland where he fanned seven. However, in his second start back vs. CBA, Ryan only lasted three innings, giving up four runs (two earned), with a wild pitch. He still struck out five, but uncharacteristically left the game and the stadium early.
The virus, he, his parents, and his teammates thought was gone appears to be overstaying its welcome. A gastrointestinal specialist visit is set up for this week.
Hopefully, the family can get some answers for Ryan, so he can get healthy and finish out his high school career on a high note. Right now he is 17-1 all-time. Not a bad record to bring with him to Le Moyne College, where he will pitch next season.
O’Kane’s Community Service: ROBERTO'S KIDS
Ryan has collected used baseball equipment for the past three years for Roberto’s Kids. The organization distributes the collected equipment to poor children in the Caribbean islands of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. For more information: www.robertos-kids.org
A.O.W. Extra is a blog about the Nice and East Grocery Shoppe/NewsChannel 9 Athlete of the Week. Due to time restrictions on the 6 p.m. news there is always something cut from each story. Come here each after each Wednesday feature for one final fact, or thought about our honoree.