Alex Ritzer hits a home run with University of North Carolina

Brianne Johnson, Layout Editor

Photo Submitted by Alex Ritzer
Junior Alex Ritzer recently committed to the University of North Carolina. He is now hoping, along with the rest of the varsity team, to play this year; after the season was suspended due to the coronavirus.

The varsity baseball team is fighting for a chance to play at least once this season. Before the coronavirus (COVID-19) suspended the season, the team was busy preparing for a championship season with junior Alex Ritzer, who committed to the University of North Carolina (UNC) for baseball. 

“I’m always doing something related to baseball, whether it’s going to the cages, practicing with teammates or practicing with the coach. It’s all about the team, just trying to get a win, trying to get better, trying to help my teammates to get better and have fun,” Ritzer said. 

Many of the players played club baseball over the summer and into the fall, some also lift weights four days a week. These are the main ways the players train and prepare for the upcoming season.

“The team is doing a lot to get prepared for the season because we have a lot of expectations we have to live up to,” Ritzer explained.

Ritzer recently went to North Carolina to tour the school. He decided UNC was the perfect school because of the coaches and the school’s love for baseball.

“It just felt like home, it was a perfect fit for me. I love the coaches, it’s just a culture that I’ve really been looking for and I really want to be a part of,” Ritzer said. “The social college life is going to be interesting to see how different people in Minnesota are compared to people in North Carolina. It’s going to be interesting to see and compare the two different places.”

With the stress of college scouts gone, Ritzer is excited to salvage what he can of the season. Committed or not, his primary goal is to play well. According to Ritzer, being committed to UNC “takes a lot off my shoulders, in the sense of trying to impress people.”

I practice every day, whether it’s going to the batting cages with some of the guys or going to the field to do some defensive work. Sometimes, I’ll just play catch at my house or we get some of the players together and go to the field.”

— Alex Ritzer

“Our team is staying optimistic and hopeful that we will get parts of our season in, but we won’t know anything until the MSHSL declares that we can play. This all still depends on how much worse the virus gets,” said Matt Moore, senior varsity baseball captain.

So far, COVID-19 has suspended the baseball season until May 4, but not canceled it. The team can not have any type of practice, scrimmage, tryout or game until then.

“Over spring break we managed to get one week of practice in before all cancelations. At practice since by MSHSL law we could only throw, run and lift as a team, so at practice that’s what we spent our time doing,” Moore said.

If the team was able to practice during the COVID-19 pandemic, they would have practiced Monday through Friday after school, as well as Saturday mornings. Some of the players continue to practice alone or with small groups, in respect of social distancing.

“I practice every day, whether it’s going to the batting cages with some of the guys or going to the field to do some defensive work. Sometimes, I’ll just play catch at my house or we get some of the players together and go to the field,” Ritzer said.

“Although Alex is not a captain of the team because he is a junior, he still has great leadership abilities as well as a great work ethic. These characteristics are recognized by his teammates, causing him to be a great vocal leader and by example leader,” Moore added.