PULASKI COUNTY, Va. (WFXR) – Since coming to the Pulaski River Turtles baseball star Ryland Zaborowski has continued to dominate on the diamond. But it hasn’t always been easy, especially when he was younger.
“I was around the age of three, I think is my guess when I was diagnosed with Asperger’s under the Autism spectrum. In California when I lived there for 12 and a half years it was a little bit of struggle in the classroom because I was not mainstreamed until the end of my 8th grade year when I moved to Arizona,” says Zaborowski.
That’s until the game of baseball became his sanctuary.
“Growing up baseball was my escape from reality. You know if I was having a rough day at home growing up, I would just find a way to play catch or hit wiffle balls in the front yard and that was just a stress reliver for me,” explains Zaborowski.
Since being with the River Turtles, Zaborowski has been named the Appalachian League player of the week and shows no signs of slowing down. For Pulaski River Turtles manager Clark Crist, Ryaland continues to make the team better on and off the field.
“It’s emotional…I’ve known him for probably around five or six years. He played on a Wednesday night team with the Diamondbacks when I was with the Diamondbacks and he’s such a good kid and he can play he’s very talented and the kid can really hit. It’s just a success story.”
For Zaborowski, he wants people to know that being on the spectrum doesn’t define him.
“To parents out there that have kids on the spectrum it’s just find something that they enjoy and let them keep doing it. There is hope for kids who are on the spectrum mine just happen to be baseball. When I moved to Arizona, I worked in a classroom with kids who were severely on the spectrum, and I got to know those kids really well. Some of those kids were experts on the computer and that was their escape from reality and that was amazing for me to see that kids on the spectrum still have the same amount of talent as people who aren’t on the spectrum at least in some areas.”
With the support of his family, coaches, and teammates, Ryland hopes to one day hear his name called in the MLB Draft.