By Rob Kiser
PLEASANT HILL — Newton High School senior Ryan Mollette had a dream from his early days.
Mollette’s hard work — along with his athletic ability — made that dream a reality on Monday when he signed his letter of intent to play baseball at Division I Purdue Fort Wayne (formerly known as IPFW) with a number of his teammates and fellow students in attendance.
“I have dreamed about it since I was a little kid,” Mollette said. “This day is a relief in one way. It will allow me to focus (on the upcoming season). But, I really did enjoy the recruiting force. It was kind of cool having people contact you and want you.”
And the son of James and Tina Mollette said the decision.
“As soon as I visited the campus (at Purdue Fort Wayne) I knew that is where I wanted to be,” he said. “I knew that was the place for me.”
And almost any athletic field has been the place at Newton for Mollette during his four year. He has excelled in multiple sports, with baseball being where he shined the most.
His numbers speak for themself.
As a junior, Mollette batted .515 with two doubles, three triples, a home run, 32 runs scored and 28 stolen bases.
“Ryan (Mollette) is our leadoff hitter,” Newton coach Jordan Kopp said. “With every Division I player I have had, the one thing thing they have all had is work ethic. Ryan has a great work ethic. He is always working on his game and looking for ways to get better.
“He will play centerfield and pitch for us this spring. He has already broken a few school records and I am sure he will break a few more.”
For Kopp, it is always special when a player signs.
“We have had four players sign in the last three years,” Kopp said. “They all were D-I, D-II or NAIA. It is special for the family, it is important for the program and it is important for the community.”
Mollette was happy to see everyone who came for the signing — from coaches, teachers, family and students.
“It is great to have them all here for this,” Mollette said. “It means a lot.”
And Kopp didn’t have any trouble pointing out what sets Mollette apart.
“His speed,” Kopp said. “His speed is what got him to Division I.”
And from the time he started playing, Mollette has utilized that speed in his game.
“I will play centerfield in college,” he said. “That’s where I have always played. I don’t think I have ever played left or right field. That (being the captain in the outfield) is something I have always enjoyed.”
Mollette hopes to make an instant impact with the Mastodons.
“I hope so,” he said. “I want to upgrade my game quickly.”
And he was happy to be where he was Monday.
“Definitely, it was worth all the time and hard work,” he said.
To make his dream a reality.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Piqua Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.