After winning a state championship as a sophomore, Ryan Vandenbrink, junior, still has two more years of high school baseball to add to his accolades. Vandenbrink has been the starting catcher on varsity since his freshman year, and is looking to continue his success.
“Back to back state championships sounds really good to me,” Vandenbrink said. “I think that’s the main focus this year. Just getting another [state championship] and having a good time with the team.”
Picking up his first bat at four years old, baseball has been a major part of Vandenbrink’s life throughout his childhood, and will continue to be after high school as he plans to continue his athletic career at Oregon State University (OSU).
“I started [playing baseball] before I can remember,” Vandenbrink said. “I was four years old when I started playing, and that was T-Ball at that time. I grew up playing a bunch of different sports, but [baseball] always stood out.”
Vandenbrink hits and throws with his right hand and spends a lot of time working with the pitchers on the team due to his position.
“I think the pitcher [to] catcher connection is really strong,” Vandenbrink said. “I love all my pitchers and I look up to them just because we have a strong connection because we obviously work together a lot.”
As the team looks to defend their title, they will have competition both in and out of the Three Rivers League (TRL) despite the fact that the league continues to shrink and is now down to just six teams after Canby High School dropped to the 5A division.
“Jesuit is going to be good this year,” Vandenbrink said. “I’ve actually gotten closer with a bunch of those guys and I’ve been working out with them a bunch. So I know those guys pretty closely and that’ll be a fun game. Maybe we’ll see them later in the playoffs, hopefully we do.”