CHELMSFORD -- Shea Ryan’s ability to own the 60-feet, six-inches of real estate between the pitcher’s rubber and home plate has everything to do with location.
The mound is the canvas upon which Ryan has produced his pin-point, pitching artistry. Chelmsford High’s dazzling senior left-hander has painted both sides of the plate in big, bold strokes while piling up wins, strikeouts and no-hitters this spring.
Ryan is proof positive that when you have an electric arm, lightning can strike twice on a baseball diamond. He fired two no-hit gems in April.
In Chelmsford’s season opener, Ryan, whose fastball has been clocked as fast as 86 miles per hour, struck out nine and walked two while throwing a no-hitter in a 7-0 win over Acton-Boxboro. His second no-hitter came in a 1-0 victory over Tewksbury where he fanned 11 and walked one.
“I’m surprised about the two no-hitters,” said Ryan, who stands 5-foot-9 and weighs 180 pounds. “It’s just crazy. I’m just trying to stay confident and pitch to the best of my ability and whatever happens, happens.
“Being able to locate my fastball has helped a lot. It allows me to get ahead of hitters. When I’m doing that, that’s when I’m at my best.”
Ryan’s repertoire of pitches, which includes a cutter and change-up, have helped him post a 4-0 record with one save and a 1.59 earned run average. In 26.1 innings, Ryan has only allowed 14 hits, eight walks and six earned runs, while notching 41 strikeouts.
He played primarily in the outfield as a freshman. Ryan has been in Chelmsford’s starting rotation since he was a sophomore. Ryan won five games as a sophomore, and had two wins as a junior.
“You can never imagine someone throwing two no-hitters, not with the schedule and league we play in, to be honest with you,” said Chelmsford coach Mike O’Keefe. “We’ve never had a kid pitch two no-hitters in a season. It’s very rare that we’ll have one. A lot of it has to do with maturity and the confidence he has in all his pitches. He now realizes how to pitch.
“He’s not just trying to throw the ball by everybody. He’s using both sides of the plate and throwing pitches at different levels. He’s throwing a couple different pitches. He’s a complete pitcher. He holds runners well. He fields his position well. And the other thing, he’s fun to play behind because he goes pretty quick.”
Senior catcher Jarred Huggins was on the receiving end of both of Ryan’s no-hitters. Huggins has been catching Ryan dating back to their days in youth baseball.
“It’s really cool to see how well he’s pitching,” said Huggins. “He just goes out and throws strikes. He’s been amazing, honestly. He works hard every day, so good for him. The days he’s pitching you come to the game feeling good. Hitting is so much easier because we know we can go out and just play baseball. We know he isn’t going to give up many runs or hits for that matter. We get him a few runs to work with and chances are good things will happen.”
Ryan has lifted his performance to new heights and helped carry the Lions. Chelmsford is 8-1 overall and sitting atop the MVC Division 2 standings.
“He’s very composed on the mound,” said Tewksbury coach Kirk Monbleau. “You can tell when he toes the rubber he’s very confident. Not only in his ability, but in the team behind him. He was dialed in the whole game against us. He throws a lot of first-pitch strikes. His ability to get ahead early in the count really helps him. It helps any high school pitcher. But a kid like him who can command his pitches like he can, it really makes it tough on hitters.”
Ryan’s brother, Donovan, is a freshman pitcher in the Lions’ program.
His younger sister, Addison, is also a talented athlete. Ryan’s parents, Sara and Kevin, have played important roles in his development as a student-athlete. He will continue his baseball career at Assumption College.
“The best thing about Shea, especially pitching-wise, he always gives you a quality outing,” said O’Keefe. “He never beats himself. With his control, he makes people have to beat him. He never really puts the ball in the middle of the plate so he’s hard to square up.”
For all of Ryan’s impressive stats, the numbers that mean the most to him are found on Chelmsford’s won-loss record.
“I’m most proud of the fact the team is doing well,” said Ryan. “The boys are really playing well, especially defensively. My teammates have been a big part of my success. We’re winning as a team.”
Follow Carmine Frongillo on Twitter @cwfrongi