The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

City College pitcher makes a mound made of riches

Starting pitcher Ben Ritchey, City College sophomore focuses before the game against Modesto College at Union Stadium on April 21st. Dianne Rose/
Starting pitcher Ben Ritchey, City College sophomore focuses before the game against Modesto College at Union Stadium on April 21st.
Dianne Rose/[email protected]

Mike Brosseau | Guest Writer | [email protected]

In the middle of every baseball diamond lies a small, brown and dusty covered hill surrounded by white chalk and blades of green grass. It’s a place that batters fear. This place is the pitcher’s mound, and it’s what Ben Ritchey calls home.

Ritchey, 20, City College baseball’s ace pitcher, has had a fascination with baseball since the age of 5. He contributes his desire to play to his father, and mentor, who influenced him and always had a strong passion for the game.

“I love the sport because I feel as if baseball is the ultimate balance in a game,” says Ritchey. “It can kick anyone down who thinks they are too good and uplift anyone who is the opposite.”

Ritchey pitched throughout high school at Capital Christian and held a 27-11 record in all four years of his varsity tenure. He says that his decision to join City College was to perfect his skills on the mound before transferring to a four-year university.

The control and command of his pitches leaves his coaches believing that City College is only the beginning for Ritchey. His repertoire of pitches varies from a fastball, sinker, changeup and slider, with the latter being the pitch he says he wants to improve on. His pitching skills have garnered much attention from many different teams. With his 90-92 mph fastball, he considers himself to be similar to Giants pitcher Tim Hudson.

“Wherever and anywhere he needs to throw, he gets it done,” says assistant coach Deskaheh Bomberry. “We knew he was going to be good, but we didn’t know he’d be this good. We knew pretty early he was going to be in the starting rotation.”

Head coach Derek Sullivan agrees.

“Ben came in pretty good already. He learned more how to compete day to day,” he says. “He was an important and quality pickup. He has lived up to the expectations.”

In his two years at City College, Ritchey garnered a 12-3 record, including a team-leading 7-1 record and a 2.38 ERA in the 2015 season. Despite the Panthers finishing their 2015 campaign with a disappointing 17-19 record, Ritchey proved to be a bright spot in the pitching rotation.
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“Ben leads by example on the team,” says Sullivan. “He’s not the most vocal player, but it’s more his presence on the field.”

Both of his coaches agree that Ritchey has a very “Greg Maddux-esque” style to him. Considering former Major League Baseball pitcher Maddux — who was known as “Mad Dog” — is considered one of the greatest pitchers of all time and was voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility, it’s not a bad image to have.

Like most players in the majors, Ritchey has a daily ritual that helps him to hone in on his finesse. A player’s daily routine is fundamental to his performance.

His pre-game ritual includes eating the same Subway sandwich and blasting music through his headphones to drown outside noises. According to Ritchey, this routine helps him get into the right state of mind.

Despite the rituals, Ritchey considers himself to be just like any player who gets nervous before a game. However, after he shakes the dust off, he warms up and gets himself situated to take the mound.

“Nothing really bothers me,” says Ritchey. “The attitude that you carry really affects your mindset. I don’t let things get to me.”

With his second year playing for the Panthers in the books, Ritchey will take on new endeavors.

“I just committed to UC Irvine for two years and will be going there this fall,” says Ritchey. “I hope to go to the College World Series and win a championship. After that, I hope to get drafted [to the MLB] so I can keep playing.”

Though his time is nearing an end, Ritchey says his years at City College won’t be forgotten and that he has learned many lessons from his coaches and teammates.

“I learned to go out there everyday and work hard,” says Ritchey. “I got my hands dirty and just got out there. I learned to take nothing for granted.”

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