By IAN WILSON
He’s a key member of the pitching staff of the Okotoks Dawgs.
Right-hander Ryan McFarland has been with the Western Canadian Baseball League (WCBL) club since 2021, earning his biggest start in the championship final against the Moose Jaw Miller Express last summer.
That outing was a 7-plus inning masterpiece that saw the Calgarian limit the Miller Express to two hits and no runs while picking up five strikeouts during the 12-3 victory. The Dawgs went on to win their sixth WCBL title, thanks in large part to McFarland’s work on the mound.
The 6-foot-1 hurler has worked primarily out of the bullpen for Okotoks, going 1-0 with a 1.92 earned run average (ERA)) in eight 2021 appearances before putting together a 2-1 record, two saves and a 3.26 ERA through 20 regular-season games in 2022.
After logging 44 Ks in 41.1 innings with the Campbellsville University Tigers this year, McFarland is back in Okotoks to help the Dawgs pursue another championship. The early results have been positive. In his first two games for the Dawgs this summer, McFarland is 1-0 with a 1.50 ERA through six innings.
We spoke with McFarland ahead of the WCBL campaign and here are some of the responses he had for our “1 Thru 9” series:
1. How does it feel to be back in Okotoks for another season?
Being back, you can’t ask for anything better than being back with this group of guys and a bunch of new guys that are coming in. It seems like a great group of guys who can run it back this year. I’m looking forward to playing in front of all the fans and the whole town of Okotoks. You can’t beat it and I don’t think there’s anything better than that.
2. You seem comfortable working as a starter or a reliever. How do you see your role with the team?
Basically, I told the coach whenever you need me I’ll be ready and you can put me in any situation and I’ll be ready for it. I’m just always ready to pitch whenever in any situation.
3. How was your college season south of the border in the Mid-South Conference of the NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics)?
My year went well. I was playing down in Kentucky for Campbellsville University. It was my second year there and I loved every part of it. Our season ended a little earlier than expected but I’m happy to be back here with another great group of guys.
4. What’s your favourite ballpark that you’ve pitched in?
It has to either be Seaman Stadium or the Double-A Hot Rods Stadium down in Bowling Green, Kentucky … I also played in the Spring Training field for Boston down in Florida. It was pretty cool.
5. How about major-league ballparks?
I’ve been to a couple. I’ve been to Fenway, I’ve been to the Braves stadium … I love that place.
6. What’s your favourite MLB team?
My favourite MLB team is the Toronto Blue Jays.
7. Who is your favourite MLB player?
Bo Bichette. Even though I’m a pitcher, you’ve gotta love Bo.
8. Are there any players that you try to emulate?
Basically, I try to just watch a lot of guys pitch in the big leagues. There’s many tips you can take from every single player. Everyone’s got a different style of play. You almost just grab and pick from different people and do what suits you.
9. What are your goals in the WCBL this summer, outside of winning another championship?
Just overall, just every time I go out there, just give my team the best chance to win. Do my job and trust all my teammates, because altogether it’s a team effort, so I just want to do my job all summer.