April Ryan is soft-spoken around people she doesn’t know.
It’s nothing disrespectful; she just tends to let her actions speak for themselves.
As a senior shortstop on the Keller softball team, Ryan let her actions do plenty of talking.
With a .538 batting average, 25 extra-base hits and a glove as fluid as her swing, Ryan is the Player of the Year on the 2013 Star-Telegram softball Super Team.
A Texas A&M signee, Ryan heads a cast of talented players, including three who are on the team for the second year in a row.
“It’s not like I’m avoiding anyone,” Ryan said. “I’m just shy when I don’t know someone, but overall I’m outgoing when I get to know people.”
Ryan is outgoing enough to staple a teammate’s uniform onto a hotel ceiling earlier this season.
Mastermind of that revenge prank, she said it’s a moment she’ll always remember and one that told the story of how close her teammates became during the season.
“We really didn’t hang out together or do much with each other,” Ryan said. “When the season started, we got closer and by the end of the season we were all great friends.”
Ryan’s “get even” competitive style isn’t accidental.
Over the course of her playing career, which began in seventh grade, she said she never envisioned any type of accolades being associated with her play.
Ryan learned early that little things help improve an athlete’s ability. For her, that translated to arm strength and speed.
She was determined to master her new position when she was moved from second base to shortstop last season.
“I didn’t want to be the girl that couldn’t throw,” Ryan said. “And I hate backhanding a grounder, so I knew that working to get in front of the ball quicker was very important.”
The additional work resulted in play that was the backbone of Keller’s defense. In 149 chances, Ryan had a fielding percentage of .940.
“I try to make sure I understand every situation when a hitter is at the plate,” she said. “Those are the little things mentally and the process that you have to go through to be a great player.”
The time spent was worth it. Ryan collected 39 RBIs this season and hit two home runs among her 25 extra-base hits.
She had a .621 on-base percentage, stole 15 bases and scored 35 runs.
On the agenda this summer is more work as she prepares for play in College Station.
But that doesn’t mean it’s all work and no play.
“I like to be outdoors, so I’ll play a lot of beach volleyball this summer, too,” she said.
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