Chris Ofat had a brilliant baseball career at Ohio Dominican University in Columbus.
The Class of 2000 Bellaire High School graduate compiled a 25-12 career record with a 2.83 earned run average. He posted seven saves. He also owns a school record for innings pitched at 349.
On top of his individual accomplishments, Ofat played on three NAIA World Series teams.
Photo Courtesy/OHIO DOMINICAN
BELLAIRE HIGH graduate Chris Ofat was inducted to the Ohio Dominican Hall of Fame on?Saturday in Columbus. Ofat was a mainstay for the ODU pitching staff, helping the team to three NAIA World Series appearances.
Still, however, it never really set in for Ofat just how well he was actually doing.
"I really didn't know how my stats compared to other pitchers," Ofat said during a telephone interview. "I thought my stats were pretty good."
Actually, Ofat's stats were hall of fame worthy and the call came last month when he learned that he would be formally inducted to the Ohio Dominican Athletic Hall of Fame.
"It was really exciting when I found out," Ofat said. "I was surprised. I was fortunate to play with and against some really talented players."
Ofat took his place in Ohio Dominican history officially on Saturday at halftime of the ODU football game against Grand Valley State. On Friday, Ofat and his fellow inductees along with past honorees took part in a golf outing and then were honored at a dinner during the evening.
"It's been pretty cool getting a chance to hang out and spend time with guys I played with and guys who played before me," Ofat said. "I don't think people realize how good of a baseball program Ohio Dominican has had for many years."
Ofat's fondest memories are those trips to the NAIA World Series. But, that first trip as a freshman is the one he remembers most.
"It was awesome to get a chance to play in that," Ofat admitted. "That first time is really neat. Plus, you really don't know if you'll get a chance to go again. It also gives you a level of expectation to get back."
The former Big Reds' standout ranks second in school history in appearances (79), starts (45) and strikeouts (309). He hurled 23 complete games
Along with Ofat, the Ohio Dominican pitching staff also included Jonathan Sanchez, who has had a solid Major League career.
"I think the biggest compliment I ever received came from (Sanchez)," Ofat said. "He told that going up through the ranks of the minor leagues, that there wasn't much difference in my stuff compared to what was in pro ball."
Ofat's career came to an end in the summer after his graduation from Ohio Dominican. Pitching in a league in Kansas, Ofat tore his shoulder labrum and wasn't able to pitch again.
"I definitely miss the game. My career at Ohio Dominican went so fast and it's still hard to go down to the field at times," Ofat said. "It doesn't seem like it's been nine years."
Ofat landed at Ohio Dominican basically by accident. As a high school pitcher for the Big Reds, Ofat head from a few junior colleges and Otterbein. However, playing for the American Legion squad in Neffs, the skipper of that squad Ben Taylor was friends with ODU head coach Paul Page.
"Coach Taylor got in touch with Coach Page and he came down to see me pitch in a game and I guess he liked me enough," Ofat said. "I owe a lot to Coach Taylor for that. He was just a great guy."
Ofat's parents - Ed and Lana - still reside in Bellaire.
Along with his degree from Ohio Dominican in mathematics, Ofat returned to school at Columbus State and completed his CPA exam.
Chris is single and lives in Columbus. He currently works as a CPA and is the audit manager for the firm of Clark Shaefer Hackett.