Not just this past spring, but the last two seasons, the heart of the Ridgewood baseball co-op's renaissance has been Noah Shannon.|
After helping lead the Spartans to a school-record 24 wins, a Lincoln Trail Conference championship and the program's first regional title in 2013, the senior pitcher/infielder upped the ante in '14 by leading the team with a .356 batting average and 10 doubles to go with 20 RBIs and a 9-3 pitching mark that went with a 1.77 ERA and 81 strikeouts, also team highs.
The end result of Shannon's production was Ridgewood going 24-6 to equal last year's victory standard and following up a repeat performance as Class 1A regional champions with its first sectional baseball crown.
"I'm very proud of all of these guys,'' said The Dispatch and The Rock Island Argus Area Baseball Player of the Year. "We didn't want to come in here and do anything less. We really wanted to be the team to beat, and the best we could be. We didn't want to sell ourselves short."
How do you feel about the legacy you leave behind?
"I knew all of these guys and how competitive we are, and we knew what we could do. We just wanted to exceed what was expected of us, and go where no one expected us to go.''
For yourself, what did you hope to accomplish?
"I think the most important thing for me, every time I went out to the mound, was to do anything I could to get the win. It's easy to look at stats, but I've never been one to follow (those). When I get the ball, I want the win. It's all for the team, not for myself.''
How disappointing was it to finish one win away from state?
"Of course, none of us like to lose, but I think the hardest thing was just knowing this was (the seniors') last time on the field. I don't think disappointment was the worst feeling as saying goodbye.''
"I'm going to Judson University (in Elgin) to play golf. I'm looking forward to that, but at the same time, another chapter of my life is closing. But it's been good; I'd rather just look back on it and be happy, rather than cry over it. Knowing the success we had, I wouldn't do it any other way.''
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