April 21, 2009
It was at one of Rice University's Orientation-week dinners in the fall of 2007 where one of the school's employees called over Owl baseball pitcher Ryan Berry, then a sophomore on the team who had just got back on campus to start the new academic year.
Berry had a sensational debut with the team the previous spring and then pitched for the United States National team on its international tour later that summer. He came over to meet the small group of the new Rice students. The Rice employee introduced Berry, informing the group Ryan is at the same residence hall as they are, Hanszen College (with "College" meaning residence hall or dorm in the Rice vernacular).
The employee said Ryan is a sophomore and that he is a pitcher on the Owls' nationally ranked baseball team. It didn't take the new group of students more than two seconds to inform the employee, "oh, everyone at Hanszen already knows Ryan Berry."
No, its not true that Berry and his impressive Rice pitching career have become part of the University's official Orientation-week indoctrination speeches... though that may be something the school may want to consider at some point in the future! The new students know of Ryan Berry because since day one the right-hander from Humble, Tex., has been active in his Rice College - taking part in student functions from leading study groups in his rugged major (engineering) to serving as the offensive coordinator for Hanszen's girl's powderpuff football team.
Free time is sparse for a Division I baseball player, but Berry has been there for his classmates the last three years and excelled in both realms.
In five starts on the baseball diamond this year, Berry has maintained a 1.96 ERA and he has held all opposing hitters to a composite .131 batting average. In the Owls' 4-1 win over No. 20th-ranked San Diego (Mar. 13) he pitched a complete game, one-hitter for his third-straight win. He carried a perfect game into the seventh inning and no-hitter into the eighth, but finished with a complete game one-hitter. For the third week in a row, Berry did not walk a batter and he struck out a least eight. He saw his streak of 26.1 consecutive innings without allowing any runs come to an end, but he still had a streak of 28.2 consecutive innings without allowing an earned run.
It was an outing that had followed complete-game two-hitters against then No. 1 Texas A&M and Notre Dame. For his efforts he was named the National Pitcher of the Week.
The students at Hanszen have returned Berry's dedication toteh college by attending his games, singing his name after every strikeout as if it was an international soccer game.
Even with all the success Berry has never placed himself above any of the other students.
He has embraced the student side of his life as an elite student-athlete. By 2008 he was again involved in Orientation-week, only this time serving as one of the coordinators of such an important transition. In April of 2009 Berry was presented with Hanszen's Glynda Cumby Award, which is given by the College to the Hanszen student who does exemplary work on behalf of the College who is not already an elected officer or council member.
One day in the future it may be just another "Berry-fact" the new students will have to learn in their Rice-indoctrination, right there alongside William Marsh Rice himself!
He is Ryan Berry, and he is one of Tomorrow's Leaders.
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