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De Vries the centerpiece of RC’s historic 2012 season

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POSTED July 6, 2012 1:39 a.m.

In a season in which the Ripon Christian baseball program landed its first league title and first win in the Sac-Joaquin Section postseason, Colby De Vries definitely left his prints on it.

De Vries helped at the plate, dominated from the bump and most importantly provided stability in the leadership department, which is a must with championship programs.

De Vries’ efforts on the diamond help guide him to the Manteca Bulletin’s 2012 All-Area Baseball Player of the Year award. The lanky, hard-throwing right hander also was tabbed the Southern Athletic League’s Most Valuable Player.

De Vries’ postseason substantiated both honors. This after he helped usher the Knights into the postseason with the club winning 10 of  his final 11 starts (8-3, 1.89 ERA) down the stretch. The four-year varsity player was as valuable in the box (.457, 32 hits) leading the Knights in hits and runs scored.

“This season was awesome,’ De Vries said. “It was a great experience; always being out there with the team and working hard together to get this championship. Coach (John de Visser) talked to us all year about wanting this so bad, so we fought and did whatever we could to get it for him.”

The Knights finished tied with Mariposa County with 12-2 Southern League records, but snatched their piece of the league title with a 4-3 win over Mariposa in the league finale. De Vries started the must-win contest for the Knights, going just over four innings and striking out seven while surrendering just one earned run.

A coin flip landed Mariposa the No. 1 seed once the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV tournament began, leaving the Knights to battle against eventual tournament runner-up Bradshaw Christian. Ripon Christian was able to win one of the two clubs’ three matchups, with De Vries rallying the club with a 10-7 win to force a series-deciding game.

“That postseason was a tremendous experience,” De Vries said. “Those are great teams, Bradshaw and Forrest Lake Christian. They’re like us; they’re scrappy, they play hard and they fight to get that win. It was fun to get out there and experience that, because I had never played in the playoffs before.

“Being out there that first game I’ll always remember those jitters and being really excited.”

No team in the area reflected their coach more than Ripon Christian. de Visser undoubtedly did. During the must-win game in the second meeting with Bradshaw Christian, De Vries found himself tagging up from third base on what could have been ruled an infield fly. Needless to say, when the second baseman called off the right fielder only two people at the yard knew De Vries would be scoring a run.

“I just remember that I kind of got off third a little bit and he (de Visser) said you’re tagging, you’re tagging,’ De Vries said. “He was right in my ear saying you’ve gotta score on this, you’ve gotta score.

“I went back, tagged and he said, ‘Go!’. It worked out for us.”

The run, the effort and the instincts are the key components that allowed De Vries to finish his Ripon Christian career in unchartered waters. So many aspects of his game contributed to the Knights’ first-ever league title, but his prowess on the mound is clearly what separated him from the rest.

“On that mound is where I love to be,” De Vries said. “It’s where I feel really calm. I don’t have anything else in my head when I’m out there. I just go out there and do the best that I can to try and help our team win.”

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