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Q&A with Ryan McFarland

He’s a key member of the pitching staff of the Okotoks Dawgs and a Western Canadian Baseball League All-Star.

Calgary right-hander Ryan McFarland has been with the WCBL club since 2021, earning his biggest start in the championship final against the Moose Jaw Miller Express last summer.

That outing was a seven-plus inning masterpiece that saw him limit the Miller Express to two hits and no runs while picking up five strikeouts during the 12-3 victory. The Dawgs went on to win their sixth WCBL title, thanks in large part to McFarland’s work on the mound.

The 6-foot-1 hurler has worked primarily out of the bullpen for Okotoks, going 1-0 with a 1.92 earned run average (ERA)) in eight 2021 appearances before putting together a 2-1 record, two saves and a 3.26 ERA through 20 regular-season games in 2022.

After logging 44 Ks in 41.1 innings with the Campbellsville University Tigers this year, McFarland is back in Okotoks to help the Dawgs pursue another championship. The regular-season returns have been positive. In his first nine games for the Dawgs this summer, McFarland is 2-0 with a 1.44 ERA and eight strikeouts through 18.2 innings. McFarland has been a versatile arm for Okotoks, making a pair of starts and working another seven games from the bullpen. The WCBL took notice and named him a 2023 All-Star. He will represent the Dawgs and the West Division at the league’s midsummer classic at Seaman Stadium in Okotoks on Saturday, July 15th.

McFarland made time to answer a few questions about his time in the WCBL and his baseball journey. Here’s what he had to say:

How does it feel to be back in Okotoks for another season?

Being back, you can’t ask for anything better than being back with this group of guys and a bunch of new guys that are coming in. It seems like a great group of guys who can run it back this year. I’m looking forward to playing in front of all the fans and the whole town of Okotoks. You can’t beat it and I don’t think there’s anything better than that.

You seem comfortable working as a starter or a reliever. How do you see your role with the team?

Basically, I told the coach whenever you need me, I’ll be ready and you can put me in any situation and I’ll be ready for it. I’m just always ready to pitch whenever in any situation.

How was your college season south of the border in the Mid-South Conference of the NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics)?

My year went well. I was playing down in Kentucky for Campbellsville University. It was my second year there and I loved every part of it. Our season ended a little earlier than expected but I’m happy to be back here with another great group of guys.

What’s your favourite ballpark that you’ve either pitched in or visited?

It has to either be Seaman Stadium or the Double-A Hot Rods Stadium down in Bowling Green, Kentucky … I also played in the Spring Training field for Boston down in Florida. It was pretty cool. I’ve been to a couple (MLB stadiums). I’ve been to Fenway, I’ve been to the Braves stadium … I love that place.

What’s your favourite Major League Baseball team and who is a player from the majors that you admire?

My favourite MLB team is the Toronto Blue Jays and favourite player is Bo Bichette. Even though I’m a pitcher, you’ve gotta love Bo.

Basically, I try to just watch a lot of guys pitch in the big leagues. There are many tips you can take from every single player. Everyone’s got a different style of play. You almost just grab and pick from different people and do what suits you.

What are your goals in the WCBL this summer, outside of winning another championship?

Just overall, just every time I go out there, just give my team the best chance to win. Do my job and trust all my teammates, because altogether it’s a team effort, so I just want to do my job all summer.

The Okotoks Dawgs regular season runs through early August, with WCBL playoffs wrapping up in mid-August.

The WCBL All-Star Game and Home Run Derby take place in Okotoks on Saturday, July 15th. For more information on that, follow this link: