Local boy done good: Ian Ostlund
Ian Ostlund was born on October 17, 1978. He attended Turner Ashby High School in nearby Bridgewater, where he was a starting pitcher for the baseball team. After graduation he attended Virginia Military Institute from 1997-2000. He gave a standout performance in his junior year (1999-2000), setting new school records for most wins and saves in a season, plus most career wins. That year Ostlund was named to the Virginia Division I All-State team. After the season ended, Ostlund transferred to Virginia Tech in hopes of getting drafted. He played for the Harrisonburg Turks the summers of 1998-2000. The Detroit Tigers drafted Ostlund in the 34th round. Ostlund is now in his ninth season playing professional baseball. He is currently a relief pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals.
Ostlund describes his time playing for the Turks as an eye opening one. Ostlund realized that he could compete with the cream of the crop of college baseball players and in doing so excelled as a pitcher. Ostlund discovered that the Valley League proved beneficial for him once he started his professional career. He faced many players that he previously faced during his Valley League summers and that helped build his confidence as a minor league pitcher. Another great thing about the Valley League is that it has a professional feel to it, Ostlund claims. Since the players in the league all have the same aspirations to make it to the professional level, the atmosphere of summer ball is similar to that of the minor league.
Ostlund had a great advantage by playing summer baseball in his hometown. Although, he turned down a chance to play in the prestigious Cape Cod League, he opted to stick to his roots. He gained plenty of exposure playing for the Turks. The Turks and the Valley League helped him reach his goal of becoming a professional baseball player and he has never regretted it. He loved walking to the mound and having that home field, hometown crowd rooting for him.
Ostlund says that the best thing about playing professional baseball is that its a powerful position to be in; people listen to you because of your professional title. Being a professional athlete enables you to have influence over people in a positive way and to do as much good as possible.
The toughest thing about playing professional baseball is being away from family for many months at a time. Its an acquired skill to have the ability to mentally switch from Ian the dad to Ian the baseball player in a matter of days. The only way to get good at being able to make the switch is to endure it.
After Ostlunds baseball career is finished he cant wait to become the best stay at home dad and t-ball coach in all of the Shenandoah Valley.