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Wellington Daily News - Wellington, KS
  • Local athlete part of Heat pitching rotation

  • Ryan Jenkins of Wellington finds himself this summer on a team full of outstanding pitching arms. And with that many arms to choose from head coach Rick Twyman works overtime to try to juggle the innings for his staff of pitchers.
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  • By Karl Younkman
    The Wellington Daily News
           Ryan Jenkins of Wellington finds himself this summer on a team full of outstanding pitching arms. And with that many arms to choose from head coach Rick Twyman works overtime to try to juggle the innings for his staff of pitchers.
        Jenkins graduated from WHS in 2012 after a three-sport career in which he was a starter from his sophomore year on in basketball, football, and baseball. Jenkins chose baseball as a stepping stone to higher learning and signed with Cowley County Junior College after high school.
         “I was a middle reliever with a ERA under 2.00 for the two years I was there,” said Jenkins.
         Cowley was ranked as high as second in the nation in the two seasons Jenkins played while winning 91 games.
        Being a local product and with Twyman bringing the Heat to town for the 2013 season Jenkins was snapped up by him and helped lead the Heat to a runner-up finish in the NBC World Series.
        After finishing the season with Cowley this year Kansas Newman signed Jenkins to a full ride scholarship. Newman, a division II school these days, will face some good competition with many Texas schools on the schedule.
        Across the street from Newman up in Wichita sits Friends University and two of the Heat pitchers, Brady Bowen and Brandon McMillan, will work their second season for coach Adam Niesius.
        Bowen started his high school career at Stuttgart High in Arkansas where as a sophomore earned 1st team honors in his league. His dad Rick, a minor league double-A ballplayer himself in his playing days,  got a new job in Buckeye, Arizona and so Bowen enrolled at Verrado High where he broke the school record for strikeouts and pitched a one-hitter in his conference championship game.
         From there it was on to Glendale Community College where he teamed with Brandon McMillan. A Lake Havasu High School graduate where he earned 1st team all-conference and defensive player of the year as a first baseman, McMillan was quite familiar with the Heat organization.
       “I  was a fan of the Heat all the time I was growing up,” said Brandon.  And Twyman noticed McMillan along with Bowen on the Glendale squad and inked them to the Heat roster while Niesius brought them to Friends for the 2013 seasons.
        Bowen broke his hand last season after starting 4-0 as a starter and received a medical redshirt for the rest of the year. McMillan received a redshirt in his first season at Friends and after returning to the field this past year earned 2nd team all KCAC with an 8-3 record.
    Page 2 of 2 -     With Bowen now just coming around after his injury coach Niesius is looking forward to more production from him. “He threw really well his last couple of appearances,” said Niesius. “We’ve been careful with him but now he’s ready to go all out.”
       With the two Friends teammates living and playing in Wellington while also keeping an apartment in Wichita the experience has been a happy one.
         “Wellington is about the size of my hometown in Arkansas,” says Bowen. “And the people have been fantastic here.” McMillan concurs. “It took some adjusting but I like the small town living.”
        Another pitcher with Arizona roots is Tyler Clancy who is putting in his first full year with the Heat. “I was signed by the Heat midway through the season last year,” explains Clancy.
        After tearing his tricep at Glendale Community College in Pheonix his freshman year Clancy has made a complete recovery and signed with Lousiana Tech after last season.
        Clancy credits his parents, Mickey and Kari, as his biggest supporters and influences. Mickey coached his son all four years of high school in Gilbert, AR. and he and his wife were seen last week in Wellington cheering on their son as he pitched for the Heat.
       Clancy’s host family is the Darren Goodrum family and Tyler loves the atmosphere of the home and the town of Wellington. “I love the town,” said Clancy. “ I love to spend time with the kids and the fans.”
        And it’s certain the fans of the Heat will enjoy spending time with the team as they start play at the NBC World Series this Friday.
    A full schedule will be provided by the Daily News.   
       
         

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