Ryan Dew built a reputation with the Worthington Kilbourne High School baseball team as a power hitter who could be called upon to drive in runs.
He was first-team all-state in Division I as a senior in 2006 as the Wolves finished 25-6 overall with a district championship and he batted .440 with 35 RBI. The outfielder set career records with 116 hits and 110 RBI.
His bat drew the attention of Ohio State coach Bob Todd, but his standing as a home run hitter hasn't quite evolved yet as a Buckeye. At 6-foot-1, 200 pounds, Dew certainly looks the part.
"Sometimes people expect it, but I don't try to put too much pressure on myself," he said. "I've been working a lot in the weight room, too. I'm really just trying to get everything working together, instead of fighting my swing."
Dew has been working on his power this summer with a wooden bat in his hands as a member of the Columbus All-Americans in the Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League, where he's become one of the team's RBI leaders. Before last Monday, the right-fielder was hitting .238 with three doubles, three home runs and 17 RBI for the All-Americans, who were 15-12 overall.
"At this level, all the pitchers can hit their spots so you've got to jump on your pitch when you can get it," Dew said. "A lot of times with the aluminum bat, I try to muscle it. The bat's lighter. But with the wood bat I think my swing is a little more controlled."
Another statistic that clashes with the makeup of a power hitter is that Dew rarely strikes out. He has just one this summer.
As a freshman for Ohio State, he sat atop the NCAA standings with just a handful of strikeouts. This spring, he batted .261 with eight doubles, a triple, three home runs, 54 RBI and just seven strikeouts.
"He knows what he wants to swing at, but that (strikeout) number tells me that he's swinging to make contact instead of swinging to drive the baseball," All-Americans coach Brian Mannino said. "If you're going to be a power guy, you've got to take your strikeouts with your power. He's really a guy who should be hitting 12 or 14 home runs a year in college baseball."
As a true freshman, Dew made 37 starts and batted .269. This season, he started in right field 34 times and made 36 appearances as the Buckeyes finished 30-26 overall and 15-15 in the Big Ten.
"Ohio State recruited me more as a hitter and I don't know if they were counting on my defense," Dew said. "But I really think my defensive play in the outfield has been my stronger point in the game and them being able to rely on me being solid out there."
Dew will be part of a large junior class next season that has big expectations. Kilbourne teammate Cory Kovanda has earned a starting spot at second base where he hit .324 with five doubles, a home run and 20 RBI.
"Last year, I think there were a lot of games we should have won," Dew said. "I think a lot of that was due to inexperience. Next year, we'll have a lot of veterans back and we'll have some new guys, too, that should help us. My class has a lot of guys who have seen plenty of action."