Gunther taken by Braves in 12th round
Former Stratford pitcher Ryan Gunther was taken by the Atlanta Braves in the 12th round of the first-year player Major League Baseball draft on Saturday, fulfilling two lifelong dreams.
“It means a lot to me to get drafted,” said Gunther, a right-handed pitcher. “It’s been a dream of mine to play pro ball since I was five. What’s not to like about the Braves? They are an outstanding organization.
“I've been a Braves fan my whole life so to get drafted by them is something special.”
He becomes the 13th Stratford baseball player to get drafted, going all the way back to Alan Biggers in 1987.
Gunther, a senior this past spring at Charleston Southern, was 7-5 for the Buccaneers with a 3.97 earned-run average.
He threw 90-plus innings and fanned 73 batters while walking 33. It was a tremendous improvement from a year earlier.
He was 4-2 with a 2.86 ERA over his final six starts, including a victory over Coastal Carolina in the final week of the regular season that helped CSU earn a spot in the Big South Tournament.
“I am very proud of Ryan in his development as a player and in his representation of CSU,” CSU coach Stuart Lake said. “I’m very excited for him to be with the Braves and for him to play and grow as a pro within the region.”
Gunther’s best outing as a senior came in a 10-strikeout performance in a win over VMI in which he did not allow an earned run.
Gunther started his college career at Elon and then transferred to Spartanburg Methodist before making the move to CSU.
As a junior for the Bucs, he started the 14 games and finished 0-8 with a 4.25 ERA. He struck out 64 batters in 82-plus innings.
As a high school standout at Stratford, he was 13-2 overall with a 7-1 record and 0.72 ERA as a senior. He earned all-state honors with the Knights.