Ridgewood Baseball Wraps Season Up
Ridgewood Spartan Head Coach Seth Spivey summed up the Spartans’ last two baseball seasons at the Ridgewood Baseball banquet held on June 16, 2021, “This was certainly one of our most trying seasons. COVID not only caused the disappointment of a canceled 2020 season but disrupted the routines of athletes everywhere.”
The Spartans, along with softball and track were in the tail end of a compressed IHSA year which forced so many athletes to play three sports in the course of five months. The impact of these abbreviated seasons was not missed by Spivey, “as a team, we did not handle these curveballs as well as many other schools early on. However, midway through the season we began to respond and look like the team we were capable of being as we won 8 of our last 9 regular season games.” The Spartans ended with a 13-10 record.
All conference awards were handed out with six Spartans making the academic all conference list: Brendan Allen, Mitchell Brooks, Ganon Greenman, Jarrett Lund, Colton Stahl, and Garrett Vincent. Ganon Greenman was also named to the LTC First Team All Conference team. Second team all conference awards went to Mitchell Brooks, Jarrett Lund, Hunter Meirhaeghe, Colton Stahl, and Alex White. Brendan Allen was given Honorable Mention in the conference.
Team awards were handed out, Alex White was given the Most Valuable Pitcher Award, Mitchell Brooks the Most Valuable Infielder, and Keagan Hixson the Most Valuable Outfielder. The Silver Slugger for hitting went to Ganon Greenman, Greenman also won the Golden Glove Award and the Quality at Bat Award. Most Improved Award was given to Hunter Meirhaeghe and the Hustle Award was given to Mitchell Brooks. Brendan Allen received the Purple Heart Award for being hit by a pitch the most time.
Spivey then turned his attention to next year’s season. “We feel very confident that our returning players will be prepared for the challenges that lie ahead and look forward to success in the years to come.”
Casteel Plays in Shriners All Star Game
For 2021 Cambridge Graduate Brant Casteel, getting to play in the 47th annual Illinois High School Shriners Game will stand as one of his best memories of his high school football career with the Ridgewood Spartans. “I did many memorable things like meeting and hanging out with my new teammates, representing my school and community on a state wide platform.”
Casteel was named to the all star squad, travelling to Bloomington for a week of preparation which culminated with the All Star game held on June 19th on the campus of Illinois Wesleyan University.
Over one hundred are selected each year to participate in the All Star Game. Coaches from across the state nominate up to two players to participate in the game. The players are chosen through the Illinois Coaches Association. The game serves as a fundraising event for the Shriners Organization. Casteel and the other players received a virtual tour of the Shriners Hospital where he learned what the organization was about, “The Shriner Hospital helps kids with Clubfoot, Limb Deficiencies, Deformities and Discrepancies, Scoliosis, Osteogenesis Imperfecta, and orthopaedic difficulties associated with neuromuscular disorders such as Spina Bifida and Cerebral Palsy.”
The players practice two to three times a day during the week in preparation for the game. However, in between practices Casteel and the other football players truly learned what the week was about. “Some of the most memorable moments of the week were taking a virtual tour of the Shriners hospital, playing softball with some of the kids from the hospital, and getting to meet some of the kids the Shriners serve.”
The impact of the opportunity Casteel was given was not wasted on the Cambridge Senior and the other all star players, “As the week went on we started to understand that this wasn’t one final high school game for ourselves, but a game that we play for the kids that couldn’t play. Meeting these kids gave me a different outlook on how strong these kids really are, they looked up to us and saw us as if we were NFL players and super heroes, But I felt as if they were my heroes because of what they had gone through in life but they always had a bright smile on their face and were always having fun.”
Casteel is the son of Derek and Angela Casteel and plans to attend the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in the fall to major in Business.