Ryan Atkinson is on his way to Missoula, Montana.
A former pitching star at the University of Cincinnati and the former ace of the Colerain Cardinals baseball pitching staff is flying to sign his first professional contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Atkinson was not drafted after his senior year and was settling into a career as a dietician and trainer when pro scouts from seveal teams began to call.
They arranged a short term contract with the Evansville Otters of the independent Frontier League. He pitched four innings of one-hit baseball for in the Otters win over Windy City, striking out seven. In two games with Evansville, Atkinson struck out eight in 5 2/3 scoreless innings.
The Diamondbacks quickly purchased Atkinson's contract and is on his way to join the Missoula Osprey of the Pioneer League. The Reds have an affiliate in Billings, Montana in the league. The short season rookie league started two weeks ago.
The 6'3" 218 lb right-hander was not drafted out of Colerain in 2011 where he was 2011 first-team all-city selection after recording a 1.66 ERA, 64 strikeouts in 33 innings pitched. Atkinson two-time first-team all-Greater Miami Conference honoree and an all-Ohio honorable mention in 2011. He was named all-city honorable mention in 2010 after posting a 1.81 ERA with 77 Ks in 54 innings pitched.
The 23-year old threw a no-hitter with 15 strikeouts and tossed an 18-strikeout performance both against Mason junior season Atkinson threw one-hitter with 15 strikeouts against eventual state champion Lakota East senior season. He was the punter on Colerain's football team senior season.
Atkinson went on to pitch for the University of Cincinnati baseball Bearcats from 2012 through 2015. Where he had a career 9-11 record. He was limited to six games as a junior with a shoulder injury and was not drafted.
Atkinson bounced back his senior year to post a 4-6 record in 15 games with a 4,82 ERA in eight starts with several highlights. He went eight innings with a four strikeouts to earn the win at No. 24 Memphis (5/1) . Atkinson recorded nine strikeouts and allowed just seven hits in 7.0 innings against Tulane (4/24). He kept No. 25 Houston to just three hits over 7.1 innings with five strikeouts (4/18) and pitched a gem in his first start of the season, allowing just one hit to No. 6 UCF and striking out seven for the victory (4/2) .