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Alumni corner: Silva plays through pain for Colorado Christian

Despite a nagging back injury caused by a car accident, Holy Family graduate Ryan Silva enjoyed a standout 2014 season with Colorado Christian University
Photo courtesy Colorado Christian athletics
Despite a nagging back injury caused by a car accident, Holy Family graduate Ryan Silva enjoyed a standout 2014 season with Colorado Christian University

Ryan Silva is tough as nails, a baseball player who refuses to keep a clean uniform and is willing to go all-out every time he takes the diamond.

Colorado Christian baseball coach Mike Hutcheon called former Holy Family standout Ryan Silva his team’s Lenny Dykstra for his effort this past season in which he did just about everything for the young Cougars.

“He’s your leadoff guy or No. 2 guy and is the smallest player on the field and he is going to create a lot of havoc by getting on base,” said Hutcheon, of Silva who reached base at a .457 rate this past spring. “He’s the type of guy that is going to create a nine or 10-pitch at-bat, and he is just sort of pesky and a thorn other teams’ side.”

Silva, who transferred in from McCook (Neb.) Community College this past season, was one of the few bright spots this season for the Cougars. He led the 8-40 squad with a .333 batting average, was fantastic in the outfield defensively (.981 fielding percentage) and even took the mound a couple of times when his team needed him to.

And he did it all at nowhere close to 100 percent.

It was January and Silva was returning home from a baseball mission trip in Costa Rica when he was travelling down Highway 6 and came up to a construction zone in his old truck when the brakes decided to stop working for him.

“I was my first accident, so I was kind of freaking out,” said Silva, who accepted the blame for the mishap.

It wasn’t until two or three weeks after the fact that the pain started to flare in his back. He recalls a doubleheader at home at All-Star Park in Lakewood against Colorado Mesa on the last day of February that opened up the RMAC campaign where “I was just in complete pain,” he said.

“It was something that I dealt with for more than half of the season and I was seeing a chiropractor at least two or three times a week,” said Silva, whose coach knew he was going to be a regular in the training room. “But the second half of the season, I got going pretty good.”

Playing sometimes at just 50 percent, when hitting and running weren’t as painful, Silva had a five-game stretch against both Regis and Adams State where he collected two hits in four of those games.

“I had to fight through a lot and knowing that there wasn’t a lot of depth in the outfield, I knew I kind of had to be the guy,” Silva said. “I just kind of had to work through it even though everybody, including my coaches, knew I wasn’t 100 percent.”

Said Hutcheon: “He’s all over the field and he’s one of those players that is never going to have a clean uniform. He’s one you love to have and beside that, he’s a great leader and a great teammate.”

Silva and the Cougars, including assistant coach Jerry Schemmel (one of the voices of the Colorado Rockies on 850 KOA and longtime voice of the Denver Nuggets), have nowhere to go but up next season and with a quality recruiting class coming in, Silva hopes to finish his collegiate career in style.

“It looks like we will have a lot of experience with a lot of junior college guys to give us some depth,” he said. “I’m looking forward to working hard and getting us to were we need to be at the top of the conference.”

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