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2A GSHL Baseball: New field isn’t only reason Ridgefield riding high

By Andy Buhler, Columbian Staff Writer
Published: March 18, 2019, 3:45pm

Spirits are high in the Ridgefield dugout these days.

The shiny new Ridgefield Outdoor Recreational Complex (RORC) is officially open. Plus, the baseball team has spent the entire school year with unfettered access to the school’s new weight room, which excited the Spudders, who return a big core of their team from a year ago.

That includes senior pitcher/first baseman Spencer Andersen, senior catcher Brock Harrison, senior pitcher Kellen Bringhurst and junior Jimmy Wallace — all returning first team all-league selections.

All considered, the Spudders feel as though they are riding a wave of momentum entering the season.

“I feel like it’s going to set us up for a really good season,” senior outfielder Camden Ryder said. “We’re a lot more prepared than past seasons and I feel really good about what’s to come.”

Head coach Nick Allen concurred: “Our whole program has had a great offseason.”

The Spudders have a core of returning talent in a league that has seen a lot of programs reload. Only two teams, Ridgefield and Mark Morris, return two or more first team all-leaguers.

For many of them, the preparation for this season started during the second week of school in early September. While other sports were underway, the baseball players got the first crack at the new weight room (Just how big, you ask? Andersen described it as big enough for 26 people to be doing pull-ups at the same time).

And Ridgefield weight training teacher Ted Beyer, a National Strength and Conditioning Association and USA Weightlifting-certified member, was there to present the challenge.

“I think that was huge for us,” Ryder, one of the eight Spudders who consistently worked out together, said. “We had one-on-one time with him just working on our stuff, get stronger, more physical, get bigger.”

By winter time, workouts that were optional in years past were required. Bringurst didn’t play basketball to focus on the baseball season.

So far, the players say, the extra work has made all the difference entering the season. Players’ measurables — exit velocity, launch angles, etc., which the team records with iPad sensors — have improved.

Now they hope to back it up on the field.

Last year’s season-ending district loss to Centralia left lots to be desired.

“We kind of let ourselves go in that last district game,” Andersen said. “I hope that the guys know we’re good enough to beat the team we lost to last year, leave right where we left off.”

To the Ridgefield players, the advantages in facility cannot go wasted.

“A lot of momentum. A lot of schools are threatened by us, I guess, so we just have to go and prove it,” Andersen said.

Columbian Staff Writer