Ryan Karstetter is no stranger to the road.
In between time spent in family vehicles and hotel rooms, Karstetter has made the most of a busy slate of travel baseball tournaments over the past few years. The rising senior who starred for State College as a sophomore before heading to IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. for his junior season will take a much anticipated trip later this summer. Karstetter has been selected to play in the East Coast Professional Showcase in Syracuse.
The tournament runs from July 31 to Aug. 3 at Alliance Bank Stadium.
“It’s big year to generate pro interest and it’s a great opportunity,” Karstetter said. “I’m excited to go up there and see what I can do and hopefully generate some interest in the pro world.”
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And Karstetter’s already done that among a portion of pro scouts.
MLB scouts invite players to and run the multiple regional tryouts for the ECPS. Afterward, the scouts select the ECPS rosters. Karstetter got a call from Chicago Cubs scout Tim Adkins last week letting him know he’d been added to the Midwest roster following tryouts in Allentown and Mason, Ohio.
Karstetter is just one of two Pennsylvania prospects on the Midwest team. He’ll join Cranberry Area High star pitcher Dylan Cyphert, a Penn State commit.
“I’m really looking forward to playing against the best kids on the east coast,” Karstetter said. “The scouts will be there and that’s great and everything. But seeing how I stack up — we play a lot of tough competition in travel ball — really this will be a good test. Most of the kids are going to be throwing around 90 (mph.). It will be a good test for me to see where I’m at, what I need to work on and learn from the pro guys.”
Karstetter’s strategy for getting as many professional eyes on him is one that has evolved and has plenty of upside for high school players living up north, his father Mike said.
“It’s a process any of these players can take,” Mike Karstetter said. “You have to go to (the scouts).”
It starts with keeping busy during the high school offseason. Karstetter has played plenty of summer baseball with the Evoshield Canes, a travel team based out of Virginia that is coached by Jeff Petty, also a former MLB scout. Before Karstetter heads to Syracuse for the ECPS later this month, he’ll have played in two major tournaments for the Canes.
Karstetter and his family travel to Emerson, Ga. for a week long tournament from July 4 to July 11 and then to Goodyear, Ariz. for the Perfect Game World Series from July 19-23. Karstetter’s ECPS teammate Cyphert is traveling with the Karstetters to Georgia.
The trip south will bring Karstetter closer to where he spent his last season playing high school baseball for IMG Academy.
While he admitted it was tough to get used to being away from home at first, Karstetter warmed to Florida and took advantage of playing for former MLB player Pete Paciorek at IMG Academy.
Karstetter led IMG Academy with a .469 batting average in 25 games and the Ascenders went 14-11 and were aided by Karstetter’s team-high 38 hits. In addition, Karstetter produced a team-high 22 RBIs and tied for third on the team with 20 runs scored.
Karstetter made the switch from third base to shortstop early in the season for IMG Academy.
While Karstetter earned a scholarship offer from Virginia and committed to the Cavaliers before his sophomore season at State College High, he credits his time at IMG for helping him better position himself to make the ECPS this season. He tried out last year but was not selected.
Karstetter will play his senior year at IMG Academy.
“I think I just got a lot stronger, faster. I put a lot of work in in the weight room as far as that and obviously going to IMG and working every day to get better, that helped tremendously,” Karstetter said. “It was just an incredible opportunity. It’s basically like college. I went down there obviously to get better in baseball and continue my education. Obviously you can’t beat the weather and the facilities they have. Being away from home was tough. It’s a little eye-opening. It’s a different world down there but at the same time you get used to it and every day I’d wake up and think there’s nothing else I’d rather be doing. For a kid like me, it’s a dream come true to be able to have that opportunity.”