Fullerton's Ryan Paul, Unsung Hero

By Glenn Tanner - June 21, 2006

Everybody is going to call Wes Roemer and David Cooper the heroes, but neither were more courageous than Ryan Paul.

What makes sports great is seeing people do great things, and even though he only faced one batter, Ryan Paul's performance was up there.

I don't know if this all showed up on TV coverage, but Fullerton reliever Ryan Paul was sick as a dog and all he did was strike out maybe the most dangerous hitter in the ACC with the tying run on second base and none out.

Fullerton had Paul and Roemer warming in the bullpen to start the 9th. After pitcher Adam Jorgenson gave up a leadoff double, I was sure that George Horton would bring on Paul to pitch to Andy D'Alessio. Horton poked his head out of the dugout and waved his left arm down the line to see if Paul was ready. Paul was actually crouched down in front of the bullpen mound. Paul waved his hat around to indicate he was ready. Horton looked unconvinced and waved his left arm again. Paul still stayed knelt down and waved his hat harder. After Jorgenson faked to second to see if D'Allessio was bunting, Horton called Paul to the mound to face the guy who led the ACC in homers and RBI by large margins.

Moments later a Fullerton fan told me that Paul had been sick all day and had arrived at the stadium during the game.

Paul buzzed a fastball by D'Alessio, then crouched down behind the mound looking like he needed to puke. He regrouped and got strike two. Then he pounded his aching stomach with his hand, and struck out D'Alessio swinging. Three pitches and Clemson's biggest threat was on the bench.

George Horton walked to the mound and shook Paul's hand and signaled for Roemer. A ridiculously fired up Roemer pounded his glove and sprinted from the bullpen to the mound, and you knew the game was over before he even got there.

Thank you, Ryan Paul, for another unforgettable CWS moment.

Posted by Glenn Tanner at 12:01 AM on June 21, 2006

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