In his sophomore year, Cal Poly Baseball's Ryan Stafford continues to trend upward in his second season.
With his continued stellar play into the 2023 season after a breakout freshman year, Cal Poly announced that Stafford had earned an invite to the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team Training Camp that will feature 56 of the premier non-draft eligible college players throughout the nation.
“I mean, this is something that you dream of to wear U.S.A. across your chest," Stafford shared. "Hearing that news is really cool. I'm just super excited to get out there and compete.”
With Head Coach Larry Lee already named as the Head Coach for this year’s Collegiate National Team, Stafford will have a familiar face in his corner throughout the tryout process that will include a five-game intrasquad series in North Carolina June 25-29 to whittle it down to a 26-man roster.
“Familiarity out there, that will definitely be good and seeing a lot of new faces," Stafford admitted. "It's kind of nice to have Coach Lee as the manager, but I just want to prove to everyone that I'm playing for myself as well.”
Coming into this season, Stafford was already highly regarded with a freshman year first team All-Big West nod and a pair of freshman All-American awards. He was even added to the 2023 Buster Posey National Collegiate Catcher of the Year Award Watch List. But in his second season as a Mustang, he’s continued to improve batting .321 with 34 RBI’s.
“It's always just work, work, work. You got to come back better than you were the last year and continue to grow on yourself and hope that you can improve on the next year.”
With 22 new bodies this season and limited returning starters, Stafford has acted as a team leader despite only being in his second season.
“We brought in 22 new players, so that's always going to be interesting. I think I had to step into a leadership role and I think I was ready for it and just continuing to teach these guys what it is to be a Mustang and how it is to be part of this team culture. There's a lot of learning to do.”
With postseason out of reach, the Mustangs are still keen on improving in their last few weeks of play.
“There's always something to play for and I think we're building something that we're going to be really good next year. So there's still a push towards the end of the season here to build some momentum going in, still playing for ourselves and for each other, for these younger guys to get the experience. So there's still something that we're building here and I think there's something worth playing for no matter what.”
Stafford is only the 11th player in Cal Poly history to be invited to training camp with the latest being former teammates Drew Thorpe and Brooks Lee in 202. He’ll be in North Carolina in June for training camp in between playing in the Cape Cod Summer League.