Skellie Signs Professional Contract With Florence Freedom
ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. – Former St. Bonaventure baseball player Ryan Skellie has signed a contract with the Florence Freedom, an independent professional baseball team in the Frontier League.
An Erie, Pa. native, Skellie led the Bonnies last year in home runs (five), slugging percentage (.462) and stolen bases (five). He finished second on the Bona roster in triples (three) and total bases (84), and concluded the campaign third on the team in batting average (.313), hits (57) and RBI (31).
Skellie, who graduated from St. Bonaventure in May, had a tryout Monday with the Freedom, and was signed the same day by the franchise based in northern Kentucky.
"It feels great to get an opportunity at the next level," Skellie said. "It's something I'm really looking forward to enjoying."
Skellie made a significant impact at Bonaventure right away as he became the first player in program history to be named to the Atlantic 10 All-Rookie Team in 2009 following a season in which he finished second on the team in batting average (.331) and hits (48).
"Ryan is a tremendous, physically-gifted player who really started to figure out the baseball side of the sport this year," Bona head coach Larry Sudbrook said. "If he continues working and progressing at that he'll have the opportunity to play for a long time."
For the past two summers, Skellie has played for the Richmond RiverRats. Last summer, he hit .301 with four home runs and 32 RBI en route to a second consecutive Prospect League All-Star selection.
Established in 1993 to serve the West Virginia, eastern Kentucky and southeast Ohio areas, the Frontier League has grown to as far west as Missouri and as far north as Traverse City, Mich. With 14 teams for the 2012 season, the league has expanded internationally with the addition of a franchise in London, Ontario. The Frontier League has produced 22 Major League Baseball players over its 19-year history.