Ridge View did not have awesome offensive stats this spring, but that didn’t stop the Blazers from putting together an impressive campaign that netted a share of the Region 4-4A baseball pennant.
Tommy Hill’s team found ways to win, combining excellent pitching, solid defense and timely hitting into an overall 16-10 record. Ridge View finished in a first place tie with Rock Hill in the conference pennant race at 8-2, and made it to the District II playoff finals before being eliminated by Dorman.
“We were very pleased with our season,” said Hill, who announced he would not be returning as head coach next season. “We shared the region championship when most organizations picked us to finish fourth or fifth. My five seniors really came through for us. Our pitching and defense was very good and we managed to score enough runs to win a few games.”
Outstanding pitching was the key. The Blazers posted impressive team ERA (2.52) and WHIP (1.360) totals this spring with Richard Crisostomo, Scotty Baldwin and Andrew Hill leading the way. Crisostomo went 4-2 with four saves and compiled an excellent 1.73 ERA in 24.1 innings of work. Baldwin emerged as the workhorse of the staff, working in 62.2 innings, and finishing with a 5-2 record with three saves and a sparkling 1.45 ERA. Hill had a relatively high ERA (4.63), but came away with a 5-1 record.
Ridge View’s team batting average (.273) and OPS (.765) were low by high school standards, especially for a region champion, but the Blazers always seemed to make do during high-stakes outings.
Two players, in particular, fit the above mold – Tony Price and Blake Clamp. Price batted just .247 but his production was at the top of the list. Price lead the team in OPS (.920), RBIs (19) and home runs (6) and was second in runs scored (20). Clamp hit .260, but had 15 runs, 13 RBIs and three homers.
Hughston Armstrong (.382, 22 runs, 11 RBIs, 7 doubles, 9 steals), Julio Iglesias (.310, 18 RBIs), and Crisostomo (.344) were the more conventional offensive leaders.
Hill, Crisostomo, Baldwin and Armstrong were named to the all-region team.
Hill, Crisostomo, Price, Clamp and Iglesias are the departing senior starters. Hill and Iglesias were selected to play in the North-South All-Star games in June.
The returning starters include Armstrong, Baldwin, Austin Ross (.265), Mike Hixenbaugh (.275) and Alex Snider.
“The returning seniors should give next year's team a solid core,” said Hill. “Scott Baldwin will need to duplicate or improve on his outstanding pitching performance that he turned in this year. Also the rising juniors graders will need to step to the plate to help replace those five outstanding seniors.”
Armstrong was voted the top offensive player on the team in 2009, Price the top defensive player and Baldwin the top pitcher. Clamp earned the team academic award, while Iglesias received the leadership award. The five seniors shared team MVP honors.