Ryan Skellie figured he must have done something right.
The former Richmond RiverRat had a tryout Monday with the Florence Freedom, and was signed the same day by the Frontier League franchise based in Kentucky.
Playing professional baseball has been a dream for Skellie, who spent two summers with the RiverRats.
“I’m pretty excited,” Skellie said. “It’s nice to be close to Richmond still and to know people. It’s a chance to play professional baseball and something I’m looking forward to.”
Skellie made a stop in Richmond on Sunday night on his way to Florence. He threw out a ceremonial first pitch prior to the RiverRats’ Prospect League tilt with the Chillicothe Paints.
"It was great to be back in Richmond. I call it my second home," Skellie said. "It was really good to get back."
Richmond manager Tyler Lairson also played in the Frontier League in 2008 with the Southern Illinois Miners.
Skellie starred for the RiverRats in 2010 and 2011. The outfielder was a two-time Prospect League All-Star.
Skellie hit .301 with four home runs and 32 RBIs last summer in Richmond. This spring at St. Bonaventure, he hit .313 for the Bonnies, slugged a team-high five home runs and knocked in 31 runs.
“We’re excited for him,” said Richmond general manager and co-owner Deanna Beaman. “It’s just a great opportunity for him to excel and move his career along.”
Another Richmond connection is in Florence. The Freedom’s manager is Fran Riordan, who played at McBride with the Roosters, Richmond’s former Frontier League franchise.
Current RiverRat co-owner and former Rooster manager John Cate compared Skellie to Riordan last summer after Skellie was selected for his second Prospect League All-Star appearance.
“I’m looking forward to getting an opportunity at some point, and an opportunity to do well and kind of roll with it and see what happens,” Skellie said.
Skellie appreciated his time in Richmond.
“I think it helped me a lot,” he said. “You got to see competition during the summer and it let me meet a lot of good people.
“ ... I’m just excited for the opportunity and glad to be close to family and friends. It makes it a little bit easier for me.”
Sports Editor Josh Chapin: (765) 973-4463 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/JoshChapinPI.