A Helping Hand: Coppin State’s Timmy Ruffino helps train young athletes in home state
Ruffino has an underdeveloped right hand
ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - It is not often that young athletes in Central Louisiana get the chance to learn fundamentals and techniques from a Division I baseball player, but that is the exact opportunity they had during Thanksgiving break.
Timmy Ruffino, a pitcher at Coppin State in Baltimore, Maryland, is spending his time back home in Louisiana training the youth.
“When I was their age, I was always looking for somebody to tell me how to make it to college,” said Ruffino, a native of Bogalusa. “Anytime I get that opportunity, I love to take it and run with it.”
From an early age, Ruffino had dreams of playing college ball, but before that could be accomplished, he first had to learn to play the game in a different way than others.
Ruffino has an underdeveloped right hand.
“When I first started to get into baseball, one of the parks wouldn’t allow me to play,” said Ruffino. “They said I would have to be in the Miracle League. It was a league I didn’t want to be in. I wanted to show what I had. I felt like I should be out there with the kids who didn’t have disabilities and who have two hands and two legs.”
Ruffino’s disability is like that of former Major League pitcher Jim Abbott, who achieved what few pitchers have been able to when he threw a no-hitter in the pros in 1993. Abbott was Ruffino’s inspiration and the drive he needed that ultimately earned him a spot at Coppin St.
In his redshirt sophomore season, Ruffino made nine appearances for Coppin St. on the mound with five starts. He went 4-2 with a team-high 3.66 ERA and struck out 26 batters while leading CSU to the NCAA regionals for the first time in school history.
“It’s something a kid dreams of,” said Ruffino about his school playing in the NCAA regionals. “When you go to Alex Box and watch those games, you want to be around that environment, so being able to have an experience of that environment in a regional setting was unreal.”
Grace Christian’s Head Baseball Coach Josh Brown has followed Ruffino’s story for years and did not want to miss out on the opportunity to have Ruffino put on a clinic at the school.
“When I hear kids say they can’t do something, I want them to look at Timothy and say ‘never say you can’t’ because this guy has,” said Brown. “It’s just impressive to see what he’s doing on the Division I level.”
Before Ruffino returns to Maryland for his Spring semester, he plans to have another clinic for athletes in Central Louisiana in December.
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