Ryan Och

Ryan Och, a former Chanhassen High School pitcher, was drafted in the seventh round of the Major League Baseball Draft by the San Diego Padres on July 12.

Ryan Och was hanging out on his couch in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, when the phone rang. His advisor called first, then it was the San Diego Padres. Within 30 seconds, his name was displayed as the 220th pick in the 2021 Major League Baseball Draft.

A seventh-round selection by the San Diego Padres.

Not bad for a guy who was throwing innings for the Victoria Vics a summer ago.

Och is the first Chanhassen baseball player to be selected in the MLB Draft.

"It's a little overwhelming. It's all hitting me at once. It's an experience you always dream of being a part of a young kid," Och said.

Och, of Carver, appeared in 21 games this past season, posting an 8-0 record with a 1.27 ERA to go along with two saves. Always a strikeout pitcher, Och fanned 59 batters while only walking 12 in 35 1/3 innings.

He allowed just 26 hits and five earned runs with opponents hitting .210 against him. Och earned second-team All-Conference USA honors.

"I've been working a lot with my pitching coach. I really got into a groove this season and really keep it going all spring," said Och, who helped Southern Mississippi to a NCAA Regional finals appearance. "I definitely cut down in my walks, worked hard on my mechanics. My strikeout-to-walk ratio was a lot better this year."

Och, a closer-utility pitcher for the Golden Eagles, said he enjoyed the role.

"Those high-intensity, high-adrenaline situations, I love them," said Och, who hit 97 miles per hour on the gun one day, ranging mostly in that 92-to-95 range.

Och, who turns 23 on July 18, said he will likely forego his final two years and sign with the Padres. He graduated this spring, and with everything clicking, he feels this is most likely the time.

A late commit in 2017, Och welcomed the opportunity to play for Southern Mississippi.

"I went down and visited. I didn't really know too much about the school or the area, but quickly fell in love with it. I knew Mississippi was baseball rich, and if I wanted to compete against the best, I had to look at going south," Och said.

Och has been in Hattiesburg since the end of the baseball season, throwing bullpens and working with a strength and conditioning coach. He's excited about what's next.

"Life hits you quick. Who knows where I'll be. I'm just excited to have a chance to pitch and be a part of the Padres organization," said Och, who entertained older sister, Emily, and younger brother, Josh, on draft day.

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