ALCS hero calls Celina home

Celina Celebrates Merritt's World Series Bid

CELINA -- The people in Celina, Texas, say you can't ask for a better representative than Ryan Merritt.

"He's humble, he's soft spoken. He just gets the job done," Jake Davis said, Merritt's high school baseball coach.

Merritt grew up in the small Texas town of 6,700 and was known for his hard work ethic and his love for country life.

"We've had conversations before when he said if he ever makes good money, he'd like to buy a tractor or truck or something like that," said Bill Elliott, Celina's athletics director and head football coach. "He likes a simple life."

On Wednesday, Merritt started his second MLB game ever. After a string of injuries, he was called up to play for the Cleveland Indians, who were one win away from the World Series.

"I mean, pressure is an understatement. I kept checking my phone over and over during that game," Davis said. "It may have been the first time a football coach had his phone out during football practice in Celina, Texas."

Merritt thrived under the pressure, pitching four-and-a-half innings with no runs. Those who know Merritt say they aren't surprised he rose to the occasion.

"He stays calm. He's dedicated and he's living his dream," Elliott said.

On the people of Celina say Merritt is a fantastic athlete, but outside the diamond, they he's an even better person. They say it's thanks to hard work, humble values, and of course, his home state.

"Well, you can't take the Texas out of the guy," Davis said.

Copyright 2016 WFAA


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