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Santa Clarita Christian's Ryan Fullarton: The finisher

SCCS senior is closing his high school career strongly with plans to play in college

Posted: April 9, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: April 9, 2012 1:55 a.m.

Santa Clarita Christian senior Ryan Fullarton has thrown two no-hitters this season, and he’s trying to lock up an NCAA Division I scholarship.

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It was the sixth inning when that dreaded moment came.

Ryan Fullarton remembers standing on the pitcher’s mound when a Santa Clarita Christian School assistant coach approached.

The assistant coach, Michael Franchimone, asked Fullarton if he wanted to come out of the game.

“I said, ‘No way, I’m finishing this one,’” the SCCS senior says. “And I was able to keep throwing well through all (six) innings.”

He threw well enough, in fact, to complete a no-hitter that day at The Master’s College, his second of the season. He walked just two batters.

It ended up a 10-0 victory for Cardinals over Lancaster Baptist on March 16 in a game that was called after six innings due to a 10-run mercy rule.

A few weeks earlier on March 3, he no-hit Lutheran High in a 14-0, five-inning victory.

In either case, if Fullarton would have been asked to go another inning, he had no doubt what the answer would be.

“I’m finishing games out whenever (coach) asks me,” he says. “I’m always feeling good and I want to finish what I start.”

With the kind of start Fullarton has had this year coupled with a strong 2011 season, it has him thinking about goals much loftier than any single-game performance.

He wants to play baseball in college, maybe even at the Division I level.

It’s a rarity to see SCCS players move on to the next level, but it’s not unheard of.

Santa Clarita Christian graduates Brock Heerdt and Micah Secor are both on rosters for college baseball teams — Heerdt as junior for San Diego Christian College and Secor as a redshirt freshman for The Master’s College.

SCCS head coach Garrick Moss thinks Fullarton is a cut above those two.

“He’s got that intelligence and that baseball IQ that separates him from some of the other guys,” Moss says.

It can be a demanding task for a player to gain recognition from a school like SCCS, which enrolls 530 students in kindergarten through 12th grade.

The baseball team plays in the lowest of the seven CIF-Southern Section playoff divisions.

“Obviously you don’t get (scouts) looking at you as much, but I’ve always thought if I’m that good of a player, someone’s going to find me,” Fullarton says. “Someone’s going to take me.”

In eight appearances this year, Fullarton has posted a 1.31 ERA and a .119 opponent batting average while striking out 55 batters in 32 innings.

Through four years as a Cardinal, he’s perfected his curveball and slider to add to his already-effective fastball.

“The key this year for him is his command,” Moss says. “He’s so composed on the mound. He’s so confident and he can locate three different pitches, which is just huge.”

He’s grown to 6 feet, 4 inches, and he’s gained strength by putting extra time into lifting weights.

These days, baseball is just about all the senior does and all he thinks about.

“He’s a smart baseball player and he’s grown up with the game,” says Rob Fullarton, Ryan’s dad. “He’s always watching games on TV and we’re always talking about the game and talking about pitches.”

Oh yeah, and Ryan can hit, too.

Playing most of the season at the No. 3 spot in the lineup, he’s batting .486 with 18 hits, eight RBIs and a team-high 18 runs.

He’s helped SCCS to a 9-2 record and a third-place ranking in the latest CIF-SS Division VII poll.

It’s all building his resume toward a possible spot on a college roster.

So far, Fullarton has received acceptance letters from UC Irvine, Cal State Fullerton and Pepperdine University thanks to his 4.0 GPA.

He’s also been accepted to The Master’s College and told a spot would be available for him on the baseball team.

By the end of the month, Fullarton will have to decide.

Should he go to TMC where he has a chance to get immediate playing time?

Or should he go with one of the other schools where he can better pursue a business-related degree, but would have to try out for much more competitive Division I baseball teams?

“My faith has played a big role in these decisions I have to make,” Fullarton says. “Whatever I do, I’m going to pursue it with excellence.”

That’s what he’s learned in his time at SCCS.

For that reason, he has no regrets about playing for the Cardinals.

“It’s all kept in perspective at SCCS and it’s allowed Ryan to flourish,” Rob says. “It’s a great atmosphere.”

And as long as he’s there, Ryan Fullarton is going to take care of business in every way possible.

“I truly feel like when Fullarton’s on the mound, we can beat anybody,” Moss says.

661-287-5535

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