STOCKTON — Rylan Tinsley didn’t always like to pitch.
The 6-foot-1 lefty from Weston Ranch is glad he stuck with it.
On Wednesday, he signed his national letter of intent to continue his playing career at Stanislaus State, which recruited the wiry athlete as a two-way player. When he was not pitching, Weston Ranch made good use of his speed in center field.
“I take a lot of pride in it,” Tinsley said. “For a lot of people, you’re either a pitcher or you’re not. I’ve had people teach me to play both ways since I was little. At first, I didn’t want to be known as a pitcher, but it’s a big part of my game now. And I can still swing the bat.”
Tinsley was outstanding in everything he did for the Cougars. On the mound, he compiled a 5-3 record with a 1.47 ERA and 88 strikeouts in 58 innings. Offensively, he hit for a .429 average with four homers, 13 RBIs, 21 runs and 20 stolen bases.
Although Weston Ranch came up short of its first-ever postseason appearance, it was once again a thorn on the side of the Valley Oak League’s contenders, finishing 6-8 in the highly-competitive conference and 11-11-2 overall.
“This is the first big baseball signing here at the Ranch,” Weston Ranch coach David Hager said. “Rylan has really helped get this program to where it’s at, and he’s just a great young man who gets everything he deserves.”
Tinsley is the latest Cougar heading to the NCAA Division II school out of Turlock, joining the likes of Jaelen Ragsdale (basketball), Lizzie Alexander (basketball), Joseph Mayorca (soccer), Eduardo Medina (soccer), Tomas Huerta (cross country) and Iris Carrillo (cross country).
Tinsley said he was also recruited by a few Division I schools but was advised to play junior college ball first. Stanislaus State turned out to be the best fit for him for many reasons. He plans on studying business.
“It’s far enough to get away from home but it’s close enough for my family to still come watch me,” he said. “I just really like the coaches. They were out here watching me and showed so much interest. I just like the program and how it fits with me.”
Stanislaus State finished 22-28 and 17-25 in the California Collegiate Athletic Association this season.
The Warriors have had a nice run with pitchers of late. Senior ace Joe Ryan was recently named the CCAA’s Most Valuable Pitcher of the Year and is considered a top prospect for the amateur baseball draft. Last season, former East Union standout Jordan Kron helped Stanislaus State build a 34-18 record and was named to the All-CCAA first team and NCAA Division II West All-Region second team.
Tinsley said that playing for Weston Ranch and against VOL competition has helped him prepare for the challenges to come at the college level.
“When I first got here a lot of people said we weren’t good, but we proved that was wrong,” he said. “We had a great team, and even though it didn’t go our way as far as making the playoffs I’m just glad I went to this school and played for this team.”