Three years ago, Ryan Feltner dreamed of pitching at the Rogers Center in Toronto, Canada.
However, after some soul searching, the Hudson native had some second thoughts.
These days, the 2015 Walsh Jesuit graduate has aspirations of pitching at another place.
That would be at a stadium near the Rocky Mountains.
This time, Feltner plans to chase his lifelong dream with full force.
Feltner, 21, was selected by the Colorado Rockies in the fourth round of the Major League Baseball draft Tuesday.
Feltner, who was the 126th player chosen, concluded his junior year as a member of The Ohio State University baseball team in Columbus.
He previously was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 25th round of the 2015 MLB Draft.
At the time, Feltner, a right-handed pitcher, felt he needed to do some fine-tuning to his mechanics before joining what many people refer to as “The Big Show.”
Therefore, he decided to postpone his plans to play professional baseball and pitch for the Buckeyes instead.
Nowadays, the right-hander is fully focused on trying to fulfill his dream of one day pitching in the big leagues.
“I’m really thankful to be in this position,” Feltner said. “I’m thankful to my family and the Rockies for this opportunity.”
When Feltner was informed about getting another shot to play for a Major League organization, he felt a sense of relief.
“There was a lot of excitement,” Feltner said. “I think going to the Rockies is a perfect fit for me. I’m ready to get going.”
Feltner finished 5-5 for the Buckeyes with a 4.52 ERA during the spring.
He struck out 86 batters and walked 44, while opposing batters hit .276 against him in 91 ⅓ innings pitched.
Feltner recently blanked the University of Iowa (a 2-0 win) for six innings in an elimination game during the Big Ten Tournament in Omaha, Nebraska.
He also allowed just two runs in six innings against the University of North Carolina Wilmington (a 4-3 loss) during the NCAA Tournament this past Saturday.
“It was awesome to play for the Buckeyes,” Feltner said. “I had a great time with my teammates. It really flew by.”
Feltner made 37 appearances, including 18 starts, in his first two seasons for Ohio State, which qualified for the NCAA Division I tournament for the second time in the last three years.
While the situation was tempting, Feltner felt he made the right decision to skip the pros and head to college instead.
“I definitely developed at Ohio State,” Feltner said. “I started throwing my fastball harder and I matured physically. I also developed my changeup.”
Feltner, who also has a sinker and a slider in his four-pitch repertoire, spent time in the Cape Cod League as a closer for the Bourne (Massachusetts) Braves. He finished with a league-high eight saves and did not allow an earned run in 15 ⅓ innings of work.
Feltner felt his time playing in the wooden-bat league will help him prepare for the sometimes, harsh life of playing in the minor leagues.
“I played pretty much every day,” Feltner said. “Traveling wasn’t too bad, but I was on the field for six or seven hours.”
Feltner hopes to eventually play for an organization that hasn’t been too kind to its pitchers over the years.
Since the team formed in 1993, a number of Rockies’ pitchers have struggled to master the high altitude of the now defunct Mile High Stadium and the team’s current ballpark, Coors Field.
Due to the high altitude, balls hit in Colorado have a tendency to travel further distances than most ballparks.
“It has definitely crossed my mind,” Feltner said. “I heard the ball travels like crazy at Coors Field. I was joking with my brother (Riley, a rising senior at Walsh) that I might have to throw more sinkers to get ground balls.”
Feltner was named the Ohio Gatorade Player of the Year during his senior year at Walsh. The Warriors reached Division I regional play in 2015 with Feltner as their ace.
Feltner is one of a handful of former Walsh players, including Hudson natives John Fasola and Cassidy Brown, who have been drafted by Major League teams.
“I keep in touch since my brother is there,” he said. “There has definitely been some really good talent coming out of there.”
Feltner hopes to one day take the mound at Coors Field against perhaps, Madison Bumgarner of the San Francisco Giants or Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
But he knows he has a long way to go before that day happens.
Regardless, the young man from the relatively small town of Hudson believes he is fully prepared for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
He has no plans of seeing it go to waste.
“I definitely haven’t unleashed my full potential,” Feltner said. “I just want to develop some consistency. I’m working on a new slider right now that can always get better. But I really like where I am right now.”
Reporter Frank Aceto can be reached at 330-541-9444, email@example.com or @FrankAceto_RPC.