After a two-year sabbatical, Ryan Bliss has gone down under to resume playing baseball.
Since October, the 2011 Wellington High School and 2015 Oberlin College graduate has played for the Northern District Reds in the South Australia Baseball League, where he’s currently hitting at a .400-plus clip, patrolling center field, and also pitching.
That high batting average is factored into his Hits for Hope campaign, which takes in donations for every hit he and teammates register on the diamond.
The program was started by Bliss while he was still a student at WHS to aid classmate Landry Cole after she was diagnosed with cancer in 2014. Around the same time, his grandmother and a close friend’s mother were also stricken by the disease.
On Bliss’ Facebook page, he dedicated a post about Hits for Hope to Jacqueline Bankston, a 2010 WHS grad who lost her life to cancer in 2014.
“It’s good to feel like a hitter again but it’s even better to get back to helping out like this,” Bliss told us. “I had friends who went abroad to play ball the past couple of years so I finally decided to do the same thing. With Hits for Hope, someone can donate as little as 10 cents per hit and it really adds up after a while. There’s always someone out there who needs the help.”
To participate in Hits for Hope, contact Bliss at firstname.lastname@example.org with proceeds going to Relay for Life.
Bliss, 25, was a member of conference championship teams at both Wellington and Oberlin, notching multiple all-county and all-conference nods while finishing with over 100 hits and 100 runs in his time at WHS. In 2011, he earned Academic All-Ohio recognition and went on to graduate from OC with a degree in neuroscience.
After high school, he assisted in starting Inner Circle Sports Performance in Elyria, which specializes in training high school athletes.
“I just missed baseball so much,” Bliss said. “I just created a profile on the International Baseball Community page and here I am. Hits for Hope is what’s really the most important thing, though. It’s a sick feeling to see someone you love go through something so terrible.”
Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.