FROM CBB NEWS SOURCE
Senior first-baseman Ryan Bohanan enters the 2009 baseball season as the Jags’ top returning hitter. He hit .333 (63-for-189) with nine homers and 42 RBI a year ago, and after gaining a year of experience at South Alabama, he looks to put up even more impressive numbers this season.
Through the first five weeks of fall practice, Bohanan leads the team with a .500 batting average (29-for-58). He’s also the team leader in hits (29), runs (23), total bases (47), slugging percentage (.810), on-base percentage (.567), and OPS (1.377). His eight doubles trail on Jake Overstreet’s 10, and Bohanan is second to Zach Grichor (22) with 19 RBI. He’s also drawn eight walks against only five strikeouts.
Prior to joining USA, Bohanan played two years of junior college baseball at Butler County Community College in El Dorado, Kan, where he earned all-district honors. While at Butler, he spent most of him time at third base and on the pitching mound, but after coming to USA with Butler teammate Greg Johnson in 2008, Bohanan has played most of his games at first base or as the designated hitter. A native of Goddard, Kan., Bohanan sat down to discuss the upcoming season, life outside of baseball, and his plans for the future.
Q: What baseball team did you root for as a child?
RB: The Kansas City Royals and the Atlanta Braves. The Royals because they were close to home, and the Braves because they were on TV almost every night.
Q: Who were your favorite players at that time?
RB: I liked David Justice, Chipper Jones and John Smoltz. George Brett is probably my favorite all-time player, but I don’t remember watching much of him playing.
Q: If you could go to one ballpark that you’ve never been to, which one would it be?
RB: Fenway Park. The Red Sox are probably my favorite team right now, I’ve never been there, and with how old it is, I’d like to get there before it closes down.
Q: What sports do you like other than baseball?
RB: I love watching college basketball. I played high school basketball. Pro basketball is alright, but college basketball is my favorite.
Q: Who are your best friends on the team? Tell us something embarrassing about them.
RB: Probably Derek O’Reilly or Jake Overstreet. O’Reilly and I room together on the road, and we’re going to room together again this year. Everybody on our team hangs out a lot – there aren’t any cliques or anything like that, so we’re all friends. D.O. (O’Reilly) seems to think that everything in California is better than anywhere else in the country – whether it’s In-N-Out Burger or any of the restaurants that they have there. He just thinks if you’re from California, you must be pretty legit at pretty much everything you do. To him, the key to being good in life is being from California.
Q: What are you studying in school, and what are your plans for after graduation?
RB: Sociology. I’d like to try to do something in personal relations with baseball. Something where I could work with the players and the media. I’d like to do anything in baseball, whether it be coaching, player development, or personal relations.
Q: Have you lived in Goddard, Kan. your entire life?
RB: I lived in Haysville, Kan. until about my ninth grade year, and then I moved to Goddard, but they’re only 20 minutes apart, so I’ve been in the same area for most of my life.
Q: What is something you’d like to see improve at South Alabama:
RB: Greater fan support. We get a lot of people to come out to the Alabama and Auburn games, but it would be nice to have it packed out for any team we’re playing on a Friday night. It makes a big difference in the energy that we have during the game. If there are 5,000 people here, you really get up for a game like that.
Q: What road trip do you most look forward to?
RB: Vanderbilt. With the history that they’ve had, seeing David Price and some of those guys that have been in the major leagues already, and with them always being on TV in Super Regionals, it would just be huge for us if we could go into a school like that and beat them. That would do a lot for team confidence and national recognition.
Q: Do you feel you have a leadership role as a senior in the lineup?
RB: I think so. About half of our team this year is new, whether they’re from junior college or freshmen, and some of the stuff that we do differently here is important to show.
Q: You’re having the best fall of any of the hitters. What do you attribute that to, and how will it translate to the 2009 season?
RB: To tell you the truth, I really don’t know where it’s coming from. I worked pretty hard in the offseason just to get in better shape, and I think that’s probably given me a couple more infield hits and things like that. Our coaching staff has done a good job with us of working on the little things, rather than trying to change everybody’s swing. Everything that they’ve told me has really helped out this year.
Q: What are your expectations for this year?
RB: It should be a goal for us to get to Omaha every year. Only eight teams can do that, but with the offense that we’ve shown this fall, we can be right there. We put up about 15 runs a game against those junior college teams, and they’ve got some pretty good arms. Our pitching staff is going to be a whole lot better this year. Coach Sealy’s done a really good job with them.
For more information about South Alabama athletics, check back with www.usajaguars.com. Season tickets for all Jaguar athletic events can be purchased by calling (251) 461-1USA (1872).