Wartburg baseball standout Ryan Doty of Dubuque brought his game to a whole new level this summer playing for the Waterloo Bucks.
Doty was chosen as a sub and given a temporary contract through the connections of an old pitching coach and impressing Waterloo’s general manager during a game last season.
The Bucks are part of the Northwoods League, which serves as a summer league for collegiate players.
“One day out of school I was contracted and had to move up to Waterloo within two days,” Doty said. “Playing for the Bucks wasn’t my original plan but I took advantage of the offer and opportunity being given to me.”
Doty played in almost one-third of the Buck’s games and traveled with the team throughout Minnesota and Iowa. Many players on full contracts were involved in summer classes and the Bucks needed players.
“He embraced the opportunity and really did a good job,” Joel Holst, Wartburg baseball head coach, said. “He had stats comparable to any of the other pitchers.”
Doty finished the season on top of the team with an average of 1.37 runs earned (ERA) and ranked in the middle out of 26 other pitchers with 22 strikeouts.
He played with many Division I players, raising his competition level and having the opportunity to be seen by scouts at games.
“This summer gave me the chance to meet a lot of Division I players and realize that Division III athletes can compete just as much with Division I athletes,” Doty said.
Doty described this summer as a great opportunity and a huge learning experience.
“I really learned a lot about being a better pitcher and just executing pitches,” Doty said.
“Having confidence in yourself on the mound is really what gets you noticed.”
Wartburg baseball players getting involved in the minor leagues is not a new subject for the program. Holst said four players have been a part of the Waterloo program in the past ten years.
“Being close in distance and maintaining a quality baseball program is what really attracts the Waterloo Bucks to our players,” Holst said.
Doty plans on taking his experiences last summer and building off of them for the upcoming baseball season.
“The overall goal this year is to get the regular season and conference championship,” Doty said. “From there, we’ll just build off of that.”
In considering the future, Doty is still unsure what direction he wants to take after completing school and graduating with a fitness management degree.
“Baseball is definitely an option,” Doty said.